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26 Occupational Outlook Quarterly Summer 1999 Core subjects and your career Students often wonder why they must study subjects that seem unrelated to their career goals. Why does a future engineer need to take English classes? How does math help an air traffic controller direct planes? When do chefs or cooks use science and technology in the kitchen? The three articles that follow—“English and your career,” “Math and your career,” and “Science and your career”—explain the im- portance of these subjects in every student’s career preparation. For students with an inter- est or aptitude in a subject, the articles explain the link between that subject and a number of careers. Each article also describes how we use English, math, and science in everyday life and lists occupations requiring various levels of competence. Of course, students should consult detailed references, such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook, in making their career decisions. But these articles may serve as reminders that a good foundation is essential for the frame- work that succeeds. Librarians explain how library patrons can find the information they need. All teachers must communicate well with students. Teachers who instruct in a specific subject need expertise in that area. © The Terry Wild Studio © The Terry Wild Studio

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Page 1: Core subjects and your career - College Career Life Planningcollegecareerlifeplanning.com/Documents/4 Career Planning/c... · Core subjects and your career S ... include problem solving,

26 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999

Core subjectsand your career

Students often wonder why they must study

subjects that seem unrelated to their career

goals. Why does a future engineer need to take

English classes? How does math help an air

traffic controller direct planes? When do chefs

or cooks use science and technology in the

kitchen?

The three articles that follow—“English and

your career,” “Math and your career,” and

“Science and your career”—explain the im-

portance of these subjects in every student’s

career preparation. For students with an inter-

est or aptitude in a subject, the articles explain

the link between that subject and a number of

careers. Each article also describes how we

use English, math, and science in everyday

life and lists occupations requiring various

levels of competence.

Of course, students should consult detailed

references, such as the Occupational Outlook

Handbook, in making their career decisions.

But these articles may serve as reminders that

a good foundation is essential for the frame-

work that succeeds.

Librarians explain how library patrons can find the informationthey need.

All teachers must communicate well with students. Teacherswho instruct in a specific subject need expertise in that area.

© T

he T

erry

Wild

Stu

dio

© T

he T

erry

Wild

Stu

dio

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Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 27

English and yourcareerby Nancy Saffer

Reading and writing are basic skills we beginlearning at a young age. So why do we need to con-tinue studying them in high school and beyond?Taking English classes improves our communica-tion skills, which are essential to every job.

Communication is the ability to understand in-formation other people give us and to have otherpeople understand what we tell them. In addition tobeing fundamental for most jobs, the ability tocommunicate clearly and effectively can help us inevery area of our lives. Every time we write a letter,make a phone call, or give someone instructions,we use our communication skills. Studying Englishhelps us develop our reading, writing, speaking,and listening skills, all of which play some part inour everyday lives.

Nancy Saffer is an economist formerly with the Office ofEmployment Projections, BLS.

Social workers need excellent interpersonal skills to help clientscope with problems, such as disabling illness, substance abuse,financial crisis, unplanned pregnancy, and child or spousal abuse.

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Architects must describe their designs to clients in terms they can understand.

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28 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999

Taking English in high schooland collegeIn high school English classes, most stu-dents study basics such as vocabulary,spelling, composition, reading, and gram-mar. Learning how to construct sentencesand paragraphs lays the groundwork forwriting effective letters, essays, term pa-pers, and reports. English classes also in-clude exposure to literature, whichteaches students to analyze other people’swords and provokes thought by providinginsight into the human condition.

College-level English courses are de-signed to refine the skills learned in highschool. Subjects such as literature, writ-ing, and grammar are taught as individualclasses. These courses provide additionalstudy and practice of communication.

How English relates to careersYou may think English classes only relateto a few occupations, such as writing orediting. But every job requires workers tounderstand instructions quickly and to ex-plain problems to supervisors and otherworkers.

Good communication is essential formost occupations, even those that requirelittle interaction with others. A problemcited by employers of engineers, for ex-ample, is that some technically competentworkers are unable to explain what theyare doing, to understand or explain whattheir part of a project is, or to relate theirtask to what others are doing.

Many occupations require frequentcommunication. Sales workers must be

Advanced communicationActors, directors, and producersAdministrative services managersAdult education teachersAgricultural scientistsBiological and medical scientistsChemistsEngineering, science, and computer systems managersForesters and conservation scientistsGeologists and geophysicistsGovernment chief executives and legislatorsLawyers and judgesLibrariansManagement analysts and consultantsManufacturers' and wholesale sales representativesMarketing, advertising, and public relations managersMeteorologistsOptometristsPharmacistsPhysician assistantsPhysiciansPhysicists and astronomersPodiatristsPsychologistsPublic relations specialistsRadio and television announcers and newscastersReporters and correspondentsSchool teachers, kindergarten, elementary, and secondarySocial scientistsSocial workersSpecial education teachersSpeech-language pathologists and audiologistsUrban and regional plannersVeterinariansWriters and editors

Advanced communication

requires a strong ability to

communicate both orally and in

writing; college-level English

courses are recommended.

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Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 29

able to speak effectively both on the tele-phone and in person to present theircompany’s products well. Lawyers andmanagers need to express themselvesclearly and to analyze large amounts ofinformation to be successful. Health careworkers must be able to understand theirpatients’ questions and concerns and tomake patients understand how to main-tain their health. Psychologists and psy-chiatrists must be able to listen and com-municate effectively.

Developing communication skillsThe best way to begin developing com-munication skills is to take high schoolEnglish classes. Reading outside of classis also a good way to develop those skillsand to build an effective vocabulary. Inaddition, getting involved in extracurricu-lar activities improves communicationbecause of the interaction required. Someactivities target specific abilities: Joiningthe school newspaper or yearbook staff isa good way to work on writing skills; thedebate team is ideal for developing speak-ing skills.

The accompanying lists show occupa-tions that require advanced, intermediate,or basic communication skills. Advancedcommunication requires a strong abilityto communicate both orally and in writ-

Intermediate communicationAdjusters, investigators, and collectorsArchitectsClerical supervisors and managersConstruction and building inspectorsConstruction and building managersDesignersEmployment interviewersFinancial managersHealth information techniciansHealth services managersHotel managers and assistantsIndustrial production managersInsurance agents and brokersLibrary techniciansLicensed practical nursesParalegalsPharmacistsPhysical therapistsPolice, detectives, and special agentsPrivate detectives and investigatorsProperty managersReal estate agents, brokers, and appraisersReceptionistsRecreation workersRecreational therapistsRegistered nursesRespiratory therapistsRestaurant and food service managersRetail sales worker supervisors and managersRetail sales workersSecretariesSecurities and financial services sales representativesService sales representativesSocial and human service assistantsTravel agentsTravel guides

Intermediate communication

requires the ability to accurately

give and follow instructions, to

persuade people to a particular

point of view, and to write in an

organized and grammatically

correct manner; both high

school and college English

courses are helpful in

developing these skills.

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30 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999

Basic communicationBank tellersBusdriversCashiersCorrectional officersCounter and rental clerksCourt reporters, medical transcriptionists, and stenographersDispatchersFlight attendantsFuneral directorsGeneral office clerksHomemaker-home health aidesHotel and motel desk clerksInterviewing and new accounts clerksLoan clerks and credit authorizers, checkers, and clerksNursing aides and psychiatric aidesOccupational therapy assistants and aidesPhysical and corrective therapy assistants and aidesPostal clerks and mail carriersPrepress workersPreschool teachers and child care workersProofreadersReceptionistsReservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerksRouting and receiving clerksService representativesTaxidrivers and chauffeursTelephone operatorsTitle searchersTypesettersTypists, work processors, and data entry keyersVisual artists

Basic communication requires

the ability to interact with

others and to follow simple oral

and written instructions; high

school English classes are

helpful but not essential in

developing this level of skill.

ing; college-level English courses are rec-ommended. Intermediate communicationrequires the ability to accurately give andfollow instructions, to persuade people toa particular point of view, and to write inan organized and grammatically correctmanner; both high school and collegeEnglish courses are helpful in developingthese skills. Basic communication re-quires the ability to interact with othersand to follow simple oral and written in-structions; high school English classesare helpful but not essential in developingthis level of skill.

For more information on the level ofeducation and training needed for specificoccupations, consult the OccupationalOutlook Handbook, available in most li-braries, career centers, and placement of-fices and on the Internet at http://stats.bls.gov/ocohome.htm.

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Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 31

Math and yourcareerby Nancy Saffer

Math skills help us cope with today’s complexworld. We use math to carry out everyday taskssuch as balancing a checkbook, shopping for gro-ceries, cooking, and creating a personal budget.Other important skills we learn from studying mathinclude problem solving, analysis, and estimating.And math knowledge is essential for earning a liv-ing in many occupations, including most higher-paying occupations.

There are about 15,500 mathematicians em-ployed in the United States, but millions of workershave jobs in which mathematics is a necessary part.In fact, almost all jobs require at least some under-standing of basic mathematics. For example, car-penters must be able to measure lengths and angleswhen installing wood trim. Machinists need to un-derstand and manipulate angles and dimensions.Loan officers must determine applicants’ debt-equityratios before approving mortgage applications. Andmath skills are required for any science, engineer-ing, computer, and technical occupation.

Math is also an important part of a well-roundededucation. Most high schools require students totake at least 2 years of math to graduate. And mostcolleges require some proficiency in math for allapplicants, regardless of their intended majors.

Nancy Saffer is an economist formerly with the Office ofEmployment Projections, BLS.

Carpenters use algebra and geometry to calculate the proper angles atwhich to cut building materials.

Economists, economics professors, and marketing research analysts describeeconomic and commercial activity using advanced statistical methods.

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32 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999

Careers for peopleinterested in mathAlthough most occupations require basicmath skills, some jobs rely on math moreheavily than others. If you have takenmany math courses, have a high aptitudefor math, or major in math in college, youmight be interested in some of the follow-ing occupations.

Actuaries. Actuaries answer questionsabout future risk, formulate investmentstrategies, and make pricing decisions.They may design insurance, financial,and pension plans by calculating prob-abilities of events such as sickness, dis-ability, or death based on known statistics.

A bachelor’s degree in mathematics orstatistics is required for an entry-level po-sition in a life or casualty insurance com-pany. Applicants must be proficient inseveral mathematics subjects, includingcalculus, probability, and statistics, andhave passed the beginning actuarial exams.

Mathematicians. Mathematicians usetheir mathematical knowledge and com-putational tools to create mathematicaltheories and techniques. They use thesetheories and techniques to solve eco-nomic, scientific, engineering, and busi-ness problems. Mathematicians oftenwork with computers to solve problems,develop models, analyze relationships be-tween variables, and process largeamounts of data.

Mathematicians need a minimum of abachelor’s degree. People with bachelor’sdegrees may assist senior mathematiciansor work on less advanced problems. Mostmathematicians in the private sector needa master’s or doctoral degree.

Operations research analysts. Opera-tions research analysts are problem solv-ers who usually work for large organiza-tions or businesses. They help theseorganizations operate more efficiently byapplying mathematics principles to organi-zational issues. They work on problems

Advanced or theoretical mathematicsActuariesAgricultural scientistsArchitectsBiological and medical scientistsChemistsComputer scientists, computer engineers, and

systems analystsEconomists and marketing research analystsEngineering, science, and data processing managersEngineersForesters and conservation scientistsGeologists, geophysicists, and oceanographersMathematiciansMathematics teachers (secondary school and college)MeteorologistsOperations research analystsPhysicists and astronomersSocial scientistsStatisticians

Occupations in the advanced or theoretical math

skills category require an understanding of more

complex math concepts such as calculus and

linear algebra.

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Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 33

such as facilities layout, personnelschedules, forecasting, and distributionsystems. They often use mathematicalmodels to explain how things happenwithin an organization and to determinehow to organize things more effectively.

Most employers prefer to hire analystswho have a master’s degree in operationsresearch, industrial engineering, or man-agement science.

Statisticians. Statisticians collect, ana-lyze, and present numerical data and de-sign, carry out, and interpret the results ofsurveys and experiments. Statisticians usemathematics techniques to predict thingssuch as economic conditions or popula-tion growth, to develop quality controltests for manufactured products, and tohelp business managers or governmentofficials make decisions and evaluate theresults of new programs.

For most beginning jobs in statistics, abachelor’s degree in mathematics or sta-tistics is the minimum requirement. Manyresearch positions require a master’s ordoctoral degree.

Careers requiringstrong math skillsSome other jobs require a strong back-ground in math. The following occupa-tions are among those in which strongmath skills are very important.

Physical and life scientists. Physicaland life scientists, including biologists,physicists, chemists, and geologists, workto discover the basic principles of how theearth, universe, and living things operate.The ability to use mathematical relation-ships to understand and describe theworkings of nature is vital.

Most scientists need a doctoral degreein their field, especially those who workin basic research, but some scientists in ap-plied research may need only a bachelor’sor master’s degree.

Social scientists. Social scientists per-form research that helps us understand

Applied mathematicsAccountants and auditorsAdministrative services managersAircraft pilotsBudget analystsChiropractorsCollege and university faculty (nonmathematics)Computer programmersConstruction and building inspectorsConstruction contractors and managersCost estimatorsDentistsDispensing opticiansDraftersEducation administratorsEngineering techniciansFarmers and farm managersFinancial managersGeneral managers and top executivesGovernment chief executives and legislatorsIndustrial production managersInsurance agents and brokersInsurance underwritersLoan officers and counselorsManagement analysts and consultantsOptometristsPharmacistsPhysician assistantsPhysiciansPodiatristsPsychologistsReal estate agents, brokers, and appraisersRespiratory therapistsSchool teachers, kindergarten, elementary, and secondaryScience techniciansSecurities and financial services sales representativesSpecial education teachersSurveyors and mapping scientistsUrban and regional plannersVeterinarians

Occupations in the applied math skills category

include those in which workers need to

understand mathematical concepts and be able to

apply them to their work; in these occupations,

knowledge of statistics and trigonometry may also

be needed.

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34 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999

how individuals and groups make deci-sions, exercise power, and respond tochange. Many social scientists, especiallyeconomists, describe behavior with math-ematical models. Also, much of socialscientists’ research depends on gatheringand understanding statistics that describehuman behavior.

As with physical and life scientists,many jobs involving research require adoctorate. However, many social sciencejobs involving applied research requireonly a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Computer scientists and systems ana-lysts. Workers in computer science occu-pations design computer systems and per-form research to improve these systems.They may also program computers. Ad-vanced mathematics skills might not benecessary for computer programming;however, training in mathematics helpsdevelop an ability to think logically—anecessary qualification for working withcomputers.

Most of these workers have bachelor’sdegrees in computer science, informationsystems, or computer engineering. Someresearch positions require a master’s ordoctoral degree.

Engineers. Engineers use the theoriesand principles of mathematics to helpsolve technical problems. They also usemathematics to design machinery, prod-ucts, or systems. Most entry-level engi-neering jobs require a bachelor’s degree.

Science and engineering technicians.Science and engineering technicians usethe principles and theories of science, en-gineering, and mathematics to solve tech-nical problems in research and develop-ment, manufacturing, and other areas.Their jobs are more limited in scope andmore practically oriented than those ofscientists and engineers, but techniciansrely heavily on mathematics techniquesin their work.

There are many different ways ofqualifying for a position as a science andengineering technician, but most jobs re-

Practical application of mathematicsAir traffic controllersAircraft mechanics, including engine specialistsAutomobile mechanicsAutomotive body repairersBlue collar worker supervisorsBoilermakersBroadcast techniciansCarpentersConcrete masons and terrazzo workersDiesel mechanicsDietitians and nutritionistsElectric power generating plant operators and power

distributors and dispatchersElectriciansElectronic equipment repairersElevator installers and repairersFarm equipment mechanicsFuneral directorsGeneral maintenance mechanicsHeating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration techniciansIndustrial machinery repairersInspectors, testers, and gradersJewelersLandscape architectsMachinists and tool programmersMillwrightsMobile heavy equipment mechanicsMotorcycle, boat, and small-engine repairersOphthalmic laboratory techniciansPhotographers and camera operatorsPurchasers and buyersSheetmetal workersStationary engineersTool-and-die makersWater and wastewater treatment plant operatorsWelders, cutters, and welding machine operators

Occupations in the practical math category may

require algebra and geometry in addition to

general math skills.

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Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 35

quire at least some training beyond earn-ing a high school diploma.

Other careers that requiremath skillsMath skills are useful in a number ofother occupations. For example, mostjobs in the financial industry use mathskills. Bank tellers must have strong mathskills to be both accurate and efficient.Accountants need proficiency in math tocalculate and analyze numbers. Air trafficcontrollers need to understand maps andgeometry when directing planes. Manag-ers of all kinds use math skills; for ex-ample, hotel managers and assistantsmust be able to estimate costs for itemsthe hotel needs to order, such as food anddrinks.

Preparing for careers in mathThe accompanying lists show occupa-tions that require different levels of mathskills: Advanced, applied, practical, orgeneral. Occupations in the advanced ortheoretical math skills category require anunderstanding of more complex mathconcepts such as calculus and linear alge-bra. Occupations in the applied mathskills category include those in whichworkers need to understand mathematicalconcepts and be able to apply them totheir work; in these occupations, knowl-edge of statistics and trigonometry mayalso be needed. Occupations in the practi-cal math category may require algebraand geometry in addition to general mathskills. Occupations in the general mathskills category require basic arithmeticsuch as addition, subtraction, multiplica-tion, and division.

For more information on the level ofeducation and training needed for specificoccupations, consult the OccupationalOutlook Handbook, available in most li-braries, career centers, and placement of-fices and on the Internet at http://stats.bls.gov/ocohome.htm.

General mathematicsBank tellersBilling clerks and billing machine operatorsBindery workersBookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerksBricklayers and stonemasonsBrokerage clerks and statement clerksCashiersCounter and rental clerksDrywall workers and lathersGlaziersInterviewing and new accounts clerksLibrary assistants and bookmobile driversLoan clerks and credit authorizers, checkers, and clerksManufacturers' and wholesale sales representativesMedical assistantsMetalworking and plastic-working machine operatorsOrder clerksPayroll and timekeeping clerksPlasterersPostal clerks and mail carriersPrecision assemblersPrepress workersPrinting press operatorsPrivate detectives and investigatorsReservation and transportation ticket agents and

travel clerksRoofersSecretariesStock clerksStructural and reinforcing ironworkersTaxidrivers and chauffeursTeacher aidesTilesettersTraffic, shipping, and receiving clerks

Occupations in the general math skills category

require basic arithmetic such as addition,

subtraction, multiplication, and division.

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36 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999

Science and yourcareerby Nancy Saffer

Studying science helps us understand the discov-eries that affect our daily lives. Every time we use atelephone, television, or computer, we are using aproduct of science. We use our knowledge of sci-ence when making decisions about our health anddiet. Even common hobbies, such as cooking, gar-dening, and photography, rely on scientific prin-ciples.

By studying science, we learn how the universeworks; we learn to observe, classify, measure, pre-dict, interpret, and communicate data; and we de-velop the ability to think logically and solve prob-lems. The skills and knowledge that come fromstudying science are important in many occupa-tions.

There are almost 400,000 scientists employed inthe United States, but 21 million workers use sci-ence on the job. For example, mechanics use scien-tific procedures when repairing or testing equip-ment. Physical therapists use biology and physicsto rehabilitate patients. Journalists use scientificknowledge when writing about technology, health,or the environment. And scientific problem solvingskills are necessary for most computer occupations.

Science courses are also important if you wantan advanced education. College admissions officers

Nancy Saffer is an economist formerly with the Office ofEmployment Projections, BLS.

Pilots apply math and science whey they assess weather reports and create flightplans.

Physicans employ their extensive knowledge of biology and biochemistry intreating illness.

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Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 37

often favor individuals who have takenscience classes. Many colleges require atleast 2 years of high school sciencecourses, regardless of your intended ma-jor. If you want to be admitted into scien-tific and technical programs, you willprobably need 3 or 4 years of high schoolscience.

Careers for peopleinterested in scienceAlthough science skills are helpful inmany occupations, some occupations relyheavily on science. If you have a strong

interest in science, you might want to con-sider one of the following occupations.

Biologists. Biologists study living or-ganisms and their relationship to eachother and the environment. Most biolo-gists specialize in one branch of biol-ogy—for example, microbiology, thestudy of microscopic organisms; zoology,the study of animals; or botany, the studyof plants. These branches are then subdi-vided. For example, types of zoologistsinclude mammalogists, who study mam-mals; ichthyologists, who study fish; orni-thologists, who study birds; and herpe-tologists, who study reptiles andamphibians.

Chemists. Chemists search for newchemicals and find uses for existing ones.Their discoveries might be used to pro-

Advanced scienceAgricultural scientistsArchitectsArchivists and curatorsBiological and medical scientistsChemistsChiropractorsComputer scientists, computer engineers, and

systems analystsDentistsEngineering, science, and computer systems managersEngineersForensic scientistsForesters and conservation scientistsGeologists and geophysicistsLandscape architectsMeteorologistsOptometristsPharmacistsPhysical therapistsPhysician assistantsPhysiciansPhysicists and astronomersPodiatristsRespiratory therapistsTeachers, secondary and college (sciences)Veterinarians

Advanced science occupations

require a thorough knowledge of

scientific principles; a bachelor’s

degree with a number of college

science courses is usually the

minimum requirement. But

many of these positions require

a master’s or doctoral degree.

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38 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999

duce medicines or create stronger buildingmaterials. Some chemists specialize inone branch of chemistry. Biochemists, forexample, study the chemical compositionof living things. Physical chemists exam-ine the physical characteristics of atoms,molecules, and chemical reactions.

Physicists. Physicists study the behav-ior of matter, the generation and transferof energy, and the interaction of matterand energy. They study areas such as grav-ity, nuclear energy, electromagnetism,electricity, light, and heat. They might ex-amine the structure of the atom, or designresearch equipment such as lasers. Physi-cists might also work in inspection, test-ing, or other production-related jobs.

Agricultural scientists. Some types ofscientists work to improve agriculture.Crop scientists study the genetic breedingand management of field crops. Soil sci-entists use soil physics, soil chemistry,and soil microbiology to enhance soil fer-tility and the growth of plants. Agrono-mists develop practical applications fordiscoveries in plant and soil science toproduce high quality food.

Other scientists. There are many otherbranches of science. Geologists study thehistory and composition of our planet, in-cluding volcanoes and earthquakes.Oceanographers study the oceans andtheir movements. Meteorologists studythe atmosphere, and some make weatherpredictions. Astronomers study the uni-verse, trying to gain knowledge about thestars, planets, and galaxies.

Applied scienceAircraft mechanics, including engine specialistsAircraft pilotsBroadcast techniciansCardiovascular technologists and techniciansClinical laboratory technologists and techniciansCollege and university facultyConstruction and building inspectorsConstruction contractors and managersDental hygienistsDental laboratory techniciansDietitians and nutritionistsDispensing opticiansDraftersElectroneurodiagnostic technologistsEmergency medical techniciansEngineering technicians (all specialties)Health information techniciansHealth services managersLicensed practical nursesNuclear medicine technologistsOccupational therapistsOccupational therapy assistants and aidesPhotographers and camera operatorsPhysical therapistsPsychologistsRadiologic technologistsRecreational therapistsRegistered nursesRespiratory therapistsScience techniciansElectronic semiconductor processorsSpeech-language pathologists and audiologistsSurgical technologistsSurveyors and mapping scientists

Applied science occupations

require workers to understand

scientific principles and apply

them to their work; some

posthigh school science training

is needed.

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Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 39

Although many scientists specialize,most need to have knowledge in morethan one branch of science. Agronomists,for example, combine their knowledge ofbiology, geology, chemistry, and math-ematics to find better ways to grow foodand conserve soil. They may also workclosely with other scientists, such as mi-crobiologists, biochemists, meteorolo-gists, and entomologists.

Engineers. Engineers use the prin-ciples and theories of chemistry, physics,and mathematics to solve practical prob-lems. They develop new products and im-prove systems and processes. Engineersdesign computers, generators, helicop-ters, spacecraft, and other devices. Engi-

neering has many specialties. The largestare mechanical engineering, electricaland electronics engineering, and civil en-gineering.

Mechanical engineers design and de-velop power-producing machines, such asinternal combustion and rocket engines.Others design and develop power-usingmachines, such as refrigeration systems.

Electrical and electronics engineersdesign, develop, test, and supervise theproduction of electrical equipment. Thisincludes computers, automobile ignitionsystems, and wiring and lighting in build-ings. They also design communications,video, and radar equipment.

Civil engineers design and supervisethe building of roads, bridges, tunnels,buildings, airports, harbors, and water sup-ply, flood control, and sewage systems.

Practical application of scienceAutomotive body repairersAutomotive mechanicsBarbers and cosmetologistsBoilermakersChefs, cooks, and other kitchen workersDental assistantsDiesel mechanicsElectriciansElectronic equipment repairersElevator installers and repairersFarm equipment mechanicsFarmers and farm managersFirefighting occupationsFishers, hunters, and trappersFuneral directorsGeneral maintenance mechanicsHeating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration techniciansHome appliance and power tool repairersIndustrial machinery repairersJewelersLandscaping, groundskeeping, nursery, greenhouse, and

lawn service occupationsMachinists and tool programmersMedical assistantsMillwrightsMobile heavy equipment mechanicsMotorcycle, boat, and small-engine mechanicsNursing aides and psychiatric aidesOphthalmic laboratory techniciansPest controllersPharmacy techniciansPhotographic process workersPhysical and corrective therapy assistantsPlumbers and pipefittersPrepress workersPrinting press operatorsStationary engineersStructural and reinforcing iron workersTool-and-die makersUrban and regional plannersVending machine servicers and repairersWater and wastewater treatment plant operatorsWater transportation occupationsWelders, cutters, and welding machine operators

Practical application occupations

require familiarity with the basic

principles of biology, chemistry,

or physics; high school courses

in these areas should be

sufficient.

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40 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999

Technicians and technologists. Sci-ence and engineering technicians carryout the plans of scientists and engi-neers—setting up experiments, record-ing results, or testing product quality.They may also design simple experi-ments. These workers use testing andmeasuring devices and have a solid un-derstanding of laboratory techniques.

Other technician occupations in-clude drafters, who prepare technicaldrawings of structures and products;broadcast technicians, who install, re-pair, and operate radio and televisionequipment; and air-conditioning, re-frigeration, and heating technicians.

Other careers that use scienceScience skills are useful in many otheroccupations. For example, there are nu-merous occupations in health care, and allrequire knowledge of biology and othersciences. Physicians, nurses, dentists, vet-erinarians, and emergency medical tech-nicians are just a few of the health occu-pations that require an understanding ofscience.

Many workers use chemistry andphysics in their work. Chefs and cooksuse chemistry when creating recipes andpreparing food, because cooking ingredi-ents are chemicals. Dietitians and nutri-tionists are also concerned with chemical

content of foods. Farmers and horticultur-ists use fertilizers and pesticides, theproducts of chemistry. Electricians applythe principles of physics when wiring abuilding, and aircraft pilots use physicsand meteorology to plot flight paths andfly planes.

Preparing for careers in scienceCareers in science require orderly think-ing, systematic work habits, and persever-ance. If you are a student who is inter-ested in scientific and technical careers,you should take as many science classesin high school as possible. Basic coursesin earth science, biology, chemistry, andphysics will form a solid foundation forfurther study. A strong background inmathematics is also important for thosewho want to pursue scientific, engineer-ing, and technology-related careers.

The lists show occupations requiringdifferent levels of scientific skill: Ad-vanced, applied, or practical application.Advanced science occupations require athorough knowledge of scientific prin-ciples; a bachelor’s degree with a numberof college science courses is usually theminimum requirement. Many of these po-sitions require a master’s or doctoral de-gree. Applied science occupations requireworkers to understand scientific prin-ciples and apply them to their work; someposthigh school science training isneeded. Practical application occupationsrequire familiarity with the basic prin-ciples of biology, chemistry, or physics;high school courses in these areas shouldbe sufficient.

For more information on the level ofeducation and training needed for specificoccupations, consult the OccupationalOutlook Handbook, available in most li-braries, career centers, and placement of-fices and on the Internet at http://www.stats.bls.gov/ocohome.htm.

Understanding the physical properties of materials helps firefighters combatdifferent types of fires.

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