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Summary Report for:
51-4012.00 - Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic

Develop programs to control machining or processing of metal or plastic parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.

Sample of reported job titles: CAD CAM Programmer (Computer-Aided Design Computer-Aided Manufacturing Programmer), Computer Numerical Control Programmer (CNC Programmer), Process Engineer, Programer, Programmer, Project Engineer, Software Engineer, Welding Engineer

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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

  • Determine the sequence of machine operations, and select the proper cutting tools needed to machine workpieces into the desired shapes. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Revise programs or tapes to eliminate errors, and retest programs to check that problems have been solved. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Analyze job orders, drawings, blueprints, specifications, printed circuit board pattern films, and design data to calculate dimensions, tool selection, machine speeds, and feed rates. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Determine reference points, machine cutting paths, or hole locations, and compute angular and linear dimensions, radii, and curvatures. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Observe machines on trial runs or conduct computer simulations to ensure that programs and machinery will function properly and produce items that meet specifications. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Compare encoded tapes or computer printouts with original part specifications and blueprints to verify accuracy of instructions. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Enter coordinates of hole locations into program memories by depressing pedals or buttons of programmers. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Write programs in the language of a machine's controller and store programs on media such as punch tapes, magnetic tapes, or disks. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Modify existing programs to enhance efficiency. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Enter computer commands to store or retrieve parts patterns, graphic displays, or programs that transfer data to other media. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Prepare geometric layouts from graphic displays, using computer-assisted drafting software or drafting instruments and graph paper. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Write instruction sheets and cutter lists for a machine's controller to guide setup and encode numerical control tapes. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Sort shop orders into groups to maximize materials utilization and minimize machine setup time. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Draw machine tool paths on pattern film, using colored markers and following guidelines for tool speed and efficiency. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Align and secure pattern film on reference tables of optical programmers, and observe enlarger scope views of printed circuit boards. See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Angle gauge — Digital angle gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Automatic lathe or chucking machine — Computer numerically controlled CNC lathes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Calipers — Digital calipers; Vernier calipers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Comparators — Optical comparators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Coordinate measuring machines CMM — Coodinate meauring machines CMM See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Dial indicator or dial gauge — Dial indicators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Drill press or radial drill — Drill presses See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Height gauges — Digital height gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hole gauge — Bore gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Metallurgical microscopes — Toolmaker's microscope See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Micrometers — Digital micrometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Pin gauge — Pin gauge sets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Precision surface plate — Precision surface plates See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Profile gauge — Transfer gages See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Protractors — Vernier bevel protractors See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Radius gauge — Fillet gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Sine bar — Sine bars See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Squares — Adjustable squares See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Thickness measuring devices — Thickness gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Thread pitch gauge — Screw pitch gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Traveling column milling machine — Vertical computer numerically controlled CNC milling machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Turret lathe — Vertical turret lathes VTL See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Vertical turning center — Vertical boring mills See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Wire gauge — Wire gauges See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software; Dassault Systemes SolidWorks software; PTC Pro/ENGINEER software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — 1CadCam Unigraphics; Delcam PowerMill; Vero Software SURFCAM software; Vero Software VISI software (see all 60 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Object or component oriented development software — G code; M code See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint 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

  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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Skills

  • Programming — Writing computer programs for various purposes. 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.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems. 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 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.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience. 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.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions. 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.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems. 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.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem. 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.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance. 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.
  • 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.
  • Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly. 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.
  • 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.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. 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.

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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form. 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.
  • 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.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Select production equipment according to product specifications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Plan production or operational procedures or sequences. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Calculate dimensions of workpieces, products, or equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Study blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Enter commands, instructions, or specifications into equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Determine production equipment settings. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Position patterns on equipment, materials, or workpieces. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Program equipment to perform production tasks. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Conduct test runs of production equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Draw guide lines or markings on materials or workpieces using patterns or other references. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Create diagrams or blueprints for workpieces or products. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 95% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 68% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 75% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 78% responded “More than 40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 65% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 72% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 75% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 49% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 75% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 51% 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 — 62% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 54% responded “Important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 47% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 46% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 34% responded “Contact with others most of the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 65% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Consequence of Error — 38% responded “Serious.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Standing — 34% responded “More than half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 52% responded “High responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Level of Competition — 27% responded “Highly competitive.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 34% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 28% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Physical Proximity — 48% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 29% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With External Customers — 27% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Electronic Mail — 45% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 43% responded “High responsibility.” 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.
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 30% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” 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
36   Associate's degree
30   Post-secondary certificate Help
15   Bachelor's degree

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

Computer Science — Computer Programming/Programmer, General

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: CIR

  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. 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.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. 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.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $22.84 hourly, $47,500 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 24,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Much faster than average (22% or higher) Much faster than average (22% or higher)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 13,500
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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