Comparison of Occupational Growth Rates

Occupational growth rate and the projected number of job openings
are two important factors to consider when assessing future job prospects. Large occupational categories, such as retail salespersons, which are growing at slow or moderate rates often provide many more job openings than small, fast-growing occupations, such as occupational therapy assistants.

Between 1996-2006, 8260 job vacancies for retail salespersons are projected yearly. The number of annual openings during the same period for occupational therapy assistants is estimated at 70. The 1996 average wage for retail salespersons was $7.85 compared to $13.77 for occupational therapy assistants.
Identifying occupations that have more favorable job prospects is important in career decision-making. Several factors need to be considered, but two are most important: the employment growth rate and total job openings.

In general, jobs with fast growth rates offer good job opportunities. However, large slowly or moderately growing occupations often provide many more job openings than small, fast-growing occupations. Therefore, look at both the rates of growth and total annual openings to assess future job prospects.

Keep in mind, too, that the following lists of trends highlight only the top 30 occupations in each category. There are many other occupations with favorable job outlooks and relatively high earnings, so be sure to explore your career options in more detail.

Jobs will be available at all education levels. But, on average, employment will grow faster in the major occupational groups that require more education and training. These jobs also offer higher-than-average earnings. However, according to research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as reported in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Summer 1998 issue, 18 percent of new college graduates will not be able to find college-level jobs. This poses the need for job seekers to become more familiar with the job market in their chosen fields, and tailor their skills to the requirements of employers.

Service and professional occupations, particularly in the fields of health, business, and education, dominate the lists o occupations gaining the most employment or growing the fastest.

Total annual job openings result from new job growth and replacement job openings due to net job transfers, deaths, or retirements. About one in six of the occupations projected to have the largest numbers of total job openings each year over the 1996-2006 period require a four-year college degree. One in three will require training beyond high school.

The fastest growing occupations, based on rate of employment growth, enjoy good employment opportunities and working conditions favorable for wage advances. About one-fourth of these occupations require at least a bachelor's degree. The projected employment growth rates of these occupations are impressive compared to the average projected employment growth of about 11 percent for all occupations combined, but annual openings may be few.

Most job openings in most occupations result from the need to replace workers who leave the labor force or transfer to another occupation. Therefore, even declining occupations provide opportunities for employment, although job prospects are generally not as favorable as in growing occupations. Examples of declining occupations in Ohio which will have substantial replacement needs include farmers; general secretaries; bookkeepers, accounting, and auditing clerks; and typists and word processors.

Occupations in Ohio with the Most Annual Job Openings


Occupation Average Wage Annual Openings
Salespersons, Retail $7.85 8260
Cashiers $6.32 8010
Waiters and Waitresses $5.39 6470
General Managers and Top Exec. $26.37 5190
Food Preparation Workers $6.61 4740
General Office Clerks $8.91 3700
Systems Analysts/Comp. Program. $22.69 3020
Registered Nurses $18.30 2880
Teachers, Secondary School* $22.85 2840
Marketing/Sales Supervisors $14.68 2760
Combin. Food Prep./Service Wkrs. $5.83 2750
Hand Packers and Packagers $7.30 2370
Maintenance Repairers, Gen. Utility $11.33 2270
Janitors and Cleaners $7.89 2190
Secretaries, except Legal or Med. $10.18 2150
Nursing Aides and Orderlies $7.59 2140
Clerical Supervisors $13.94 2020
Reception/Information Clerks $8.27 1910
Truck Drivers, Heavy $13.60 1900
Counter Attendants, Lunchroom $5.88 1890
Truck Drivers, Light $9.71 1700
Teachers, Elementary* $21.25 1690
Guards $7.77 1620
Food Service and Lodging Mgrs. $12.41 1460
Bookkeep., Account. & Audit. Clerks $10.62 1460
Cooks, Restaurant $7.53 1460
Home Health Aides $7.64 1430
Financial Managers $23.69 1320
Automotive Mechanics $12.09 1310
Hairdressers and Hairstylists $7.83 1290

*Hourly median wage, adjusted for a 9 1/2 month work year.

Ohio's Fastest Growing Occupations

Projected Employment

Occupation Growth Rate 1996-2006 Annual Openings Average Wage
Computer Engineers 103% 610 $23.57
Computer Support Specialists 73% 340 $16.67
Database Administrators 73% 130 $19.40
Occupational Therapy Assistants 71% 70 $13.77
Desktop Publishing Specialists 68% 150 $14.69
Paralegals 65% 200 $14.26
Medical Assistants 64% 860 $8.88
Phys. & Correct. Ther. Assts./Aides 64% 260 $11.26
Sys. Analysts/Comp. Programmers 63% 3020 $22.69
Personal and Home Care Aides 60% 210 $7.07
Home Health Aides 57% 1430 $7.64
Precision Woodworkers 57% 70 NA
Flight Attendants 56% 40 NA
Occupational Therapists 55% 150 $20.88
Physical Therapists 55% 240 $26.05
Teachers, Special Education* 52% 1250 $19.15
Bicycle Repairers 48% 100 $6.63
Secur./Finan. Serv., Sales Agents 47% 530 NA
Dental Hygienists 46% 460 $17.46
Transportation Agents 46% 40 NA
Manicurists 46% 170 $7.53
Surgical Technicians 45% 120 $11.20
Speech Pathologists & Audiologists 44% 240 $16.85
Medical Records Technicians 44% 250 $9.14
Human Services Workers 42% 690 $9.38
Respiratory Therapists 42% 220 $15.88
Data Process. Equipment Repairers 42% 190 $12.34
Emergency Medical Technicians 41% 630 NA
Ambulance Drivers/Attendants 39% 20 $9.92
Physician Assistants 39% 160 NA
*Hourly median wage, adjusted for a 9 1/2 month work year.
NA - Not Available

Employment Growth

Relative to Education and Training Levels


Projected Employment Growth Rate


Annual Openings

First Professional/Doctoral degree



Master's degree



Work experience plus degree



Bachelor's degree



Associate degree



Postsecondary vocational training



Work experience in related occupation



Long-term on the job training



Moderate-term on the job training



Short-term on the job training



First professional degree (e.g., doctor, lawyer)/Doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D.) requires three to four years' full-time study beyond the bachelor's degree.

Work experience - job requirement for skills obtained by having worked in the same or a related occupation.

Long-term on the job training - training provided by an employer that consists of 12 months or more of combined work experience and formal classroom instruction.

Moderate-term on the job training - one to 12 months of combined experience and informal training.

Short-term on the job training - usually develop the skills needed after a short demonstration or up to one month experience and instruction.

Information obtained from Ohio Bureau of Employment Services.

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