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Summary Report for:
17-3027.00 - Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Apply theory and principles of mechanical engineering to modify, develop, test, or calibrate machinery and equipment under direction of engineering staff or physical scientists.

Sample of reported job titles: Design Engineer, Designer, Engineering Lab Technician, Engineering Technical Analyst, Engineering Technician, Equipment Engineer, Lab Technician, Mechanical Designer, Process Technician, Research and Development Technician

Also see: Automotive Engineering Technicians

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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

  • Read dials and meters to determine amperage, voltage, electrical output and input at specific operating temperature to analyze parts performance.
  • Analyze test results in relation to design or rated specifications and test objectives, and modify or adjust equipment to meet specifications.
  • Evaluate tool drawing designs by measuring drawing dimensions and comparing with original specifications for form and function using engineering skills.
  • Devise, fabricate, and assemble new or modified mechanical components for products such as industrial machinery or equipment, and measuring instruments.
  • Discuss changes in design, method of manufacture and assembly, and drafting techniques and procedures with staff and coordinate corrections.
  • Operate drill press, grinders, engine lathe, or other machines to modify parts tested or to fabricate experimental parts for testing.
  • Review project instructions and blueprints to ascertain test specifications, procedures, and objectives, and test nature of technical problems such as redesign.
  • Set up and conduct tests of complete units and components under operational conditions to investigate proposals for improving equipment performance.
  • Review project instructions and specifications to identify, modify and plan requirements fabrication, assembly and testing.
  • Record test procedures and results, numerical and graphical data, and recommendations for changes in product or test methods.
  • Confer with technicians and submit reports of test results to engineering department and recommend design or material changes.
  • Prepare parts sketches and write work orders and purchase requests to be furnished by outside contractors.
  • Calculate required capacities for equipment of proposed system to obtain specified performance and submit data to engineering personnel for approval.
  • Draft detail drawing or sketch for drafting room completion or to request parts fabrication by machine, sheet or wood shops.
  • Test equipment, using test devices attached to generator, voltage regulator, or other electrical parts, such as generators or spark plugs.
  • Inspect lines and figures for clarity and return erroneous drawings to designer for correction.
  • Set up prototype and test apparatus and operate test controlling equipment to observe and record prototype test results.
  • Estimate cost factors including labor and material for purchased and fabricated parts and costs for assembly, testing, or installing.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Accelerometers
  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Air compressors
  • Ammeters — Clamp-on ammeters
  • Amplifiers — High-voltage amplifiers; Linear amplifiers; Switched amplifiers
  • Anemometers
  • Belt sander — Belt sanders
  • Binocular light compound microscopes — Optical compound microscopes
  • C clamps
  • Calipers — Dial calipers; Vernier calipers
  • Claw hammer — Claw hammers
  • Comparators — Electronic comparators; Optical comparators
  • Compression testers — Compression testing machines; Hydraulic universal testers
  • Coordinate measuring machines CMM
  • Cutting die — Metal cutting dies
  • Cylinder gauge — Ring gauges
  • Dial indicator or dial gauge — Dial indicators
  • Drill press or radial drill — Drill presses; Punch presses
  • Dynamometers
  • Extruders — Extrusion machines
  • Fatigue testers
  • Flow sensors — Fluid meters
  • Force or torque sensors — Force sensors; Torque meters
  • Form tools or toolbits — Twist drills
  • Gage block set — Plane-parallel gauge blocks
  • Gas welding or brazing or cutting apparatus — Dry rod ovens; Gas welding equipment; Oxyacetylene welding equipment
  • Go or no go gauge — Go/no-go gauges
  • Goggles — Safety goggles
  • Graphics tablets — Digitizing tablets
  • Hacksaw — Hacksaws
  • Hardness testers — Durometers
  • Height gauges — Vernier height gauges
  • Hex keys
  • Hole gauge — Bore gauges
  • Horizontal turning center — Computerized numerical control CNC lathes
  • Impact testers
  • Induction heaters — Heat treatment furnaces
  • Injection molding machines — Rotational molders
  • Inverted microscopes — Metallographs
  • Levels — Spirit levels
  • Lifter plate — Granite surface plates
  • Loadcells — Load cells
  • Locking pliers
  • Longnose pliers — Long nose pliers
  • Manual press brake — Hand brakes
  • Metal band sawing machine — Band saws
  • Metal inert gas welding machine — Metal inert gas MIG welding equipment
  • Metal markers or holders — Marking gauges
  • Metal polishing machine — Polishing machines
  • Metal slitting saw — Sheet metal slitters
  • Metal testing instruments — Bend test fixtures; Guided bend weld test units
  • Microcontrollers — Programmable logic controllers PLC
  • Micrometers — Screw gauge micrometers
  • Microprocessors
  • Mill saw file — Mill files
  • Milling machines
  • Multimeters — Digital multimeters
  • Notebook computers — Laptop computers
  • Nut drivers
  • Offset screw driver — Offset screwdrivers
  • Oscilloscopes
  • Personal computers
  • Pitch measuring instruments — Screw pitch gauges
  • Plasma cutting machine — Track burning machines
  • Plotter printers — Drafting plotters
  • Positioning jig — Positioning jigs
  • Power drills
  • Power grinders — Cylindrical grinders; Pedestal grinders
  • Pressure sensors
  • Protective gloves — Safety gloves
  • Protractors
  • Punches or nail sets or drifts — Center punches
  • Rotameters
  • Rulers — Steel rules
  • Screwdrivers — Phillips head screwdrivers; Slotted screwdrivers; Straight screwdrivers
  • Scribers
  • Scroll saw — Scroll saws
  • Shear strength testers — Shear testers
  • Shears — Power shears; Power sheet metal shears
  • Shielded metal arc welding or stick welding machine — Arc welding equipment; Stick welding machines
  • Signal conditioners
  • Signal generators
  • Sine bar — Sine bars
  • Slip or groove joint pliers — Arc-joint pliers; Slip joint pliers
  • Socket sets — Socket wrench sets
  • Spot welding machine — Portable welding equipment; Spot welders
  • Squares — Combination squares; Layout squares
  • Strain gauges
  • Stripping tools — Wire strippers
  • Surface grinding machine — Surface grinding machines
  • Tape measures — Measuring tapes
  • Taper gauge — Taper plug gauges
  • Taps — Metal cutting taps
  • Temperature transmitters — Temperature sensors
  • Tension testers — Tensile testers
  • Thermal differential analyzers — Dynamic mechanical analyzers DMA
  • Thickness measuring devices — Snap gauges
  • Thread counters or gauges — Screw thread gauges
  • Tracer or duplicating or contouring lathe — Lathes
  • Tungsten inert gas welding machine — Tungsten inert gas TIG welding equipment
  • Twin screw extruder — Twin-screw extruders
  • Ultrasonic examination equipment — Ultrasound inspection equipment
  • Universal milling machine — Combination milling machines
  • Utility knives
  • Vacuum molding machines — Vacuum molders
  • Vacuum pumps — Freon recovery equipment
  • Vertical machining center — Computerized numerical control CNC vertical milling machines
  • Vibration testers
  • Wave soldering machine — Soldering equipment
  • Welder torch — Brazing equipment
  • Welding masks
  • Wire cutters

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Analytical or scientific software — MSC Software Adams; Spectral Dynamics STARAcoustics; The MathWorks MATLAB Hot technology ; Wolfram Research Mathematica (see all 6 examples)
  • Computer aided design CAD software Hot technology — Autodesk AutoCAD Mechanical; Bentley MicroStation Hot technology ; IBM CATIA V5; PTC Creo Parametric Hot technology (see all 8 examples)
  • Computer aided manufacturing CAM software Hot technology — CNC Mastercam; Three-dimensional 3D solid modeling software
  • Development environment software — Microsoft Visual Basic Hot technology ; National Instruments LabVIEW Hot technology
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software Hot technology — SAP Hot technology
  • Industrial control software — Computerized numerical control CNC programming software; Robotic control software; Soft Servo Systems LadderWorks PLC
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software
  • Object or component oriented development software — C++ Hot technology
  • Office suite software — Corel WordPerfect; Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint Hot technology
  • Project management software — Microsoft Project Hot technology
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word

Hot technology Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.

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Knowledge

  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • 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.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • 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.

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Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.

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Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • 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.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • 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).
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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Work Activities

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

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Monitor the productivity or efficiency of industrial operations.
  • Analyze test or validation data.
  • Test performance of electrical, electronic, mechanical, or integrated systems or equipment.
  • Evaluate designs or specifications to ensure quality.
  • Confer with technical personnel to prepare designs or operational plans.
  • Design industrial equipment.
  • Fabricate devices or components.
  • Review technical documents to plan work.
  • Fabricate products or components using machine tools.
  • Document design or operational test results.
  • Create graphical representations of mechanical equipment.
  • Prepare contracts, disclosures, or applications.
  • Recommend technical design or process changes to improve efficiency, quality, or performance.
  • Estimate technical or resource requirements for development or production projects.
  • Test products for functionality or quality.
  • Estimate operational costs.

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 75% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 78% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 81% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 54% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 52% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 60% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Electronic Mail — 67% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 43% responded “Very important.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 54% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 37% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 49% responded “Every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 38% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 55% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 41% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 29% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Physical Proximity — 35% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 32% responded “Important results.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 35% responded “Every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 28% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 32% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 32% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Level of Competition — 52% responded “Moderately competitive.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 37% responded “Very important.”
  • Letters and Memos — 24% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 32% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 44% responded “Less than half the time.”

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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, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, nannies, and medical assistants.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
25   High school diploma or equivalent Help
23   Some college, no degree
22   Bachelor's degree

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

Engineering — Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Technology/Technician

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: RI

  • 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.
  • 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.

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Work Styles

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

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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.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
  • 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.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2015) $25.92 hourly, $53,910 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2014) 48,000 employees
Projected growth (2014-2024) Slower than average (2% to 4%) Slower than average (2% to 4%)
Projected job openings (2014-2024) 12,800
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2014)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data external site and 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "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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