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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 Terry Wild Studio


The three articles that follow—“English and
your career,” “Math and your career,” and
“Science and your career”—explain the im-
Librarians explain how library patrons can find the information
portance of these subjects in every student’s they need.

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.
© The Terry Wild Studio

All teachers must communicate well with students. Teachers


who instruct in a specific subject need expertise in that area.

26 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999


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

English and your


career
by Nancy Saffer

Reading and writing are basic skills we begin


learning 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 other
people understand what we tell them. In addition to
being fundamental for most jobs, the ability to
communicate clearly and effectively can help us in
© James M. Mejuto Photography

every area of our lives. Every time we write a letter,


make a phone call, or give someone instructions,
we use our communication skills. Studying English
helps us develop our reading, writing, speaking,
and listening skills, all of which play some part in
our everyday lives.

Social workers need excellent interpersonal skills to help clients


Nancy Saffer is an economist formerly with the Office of
cope with problems, such as disabling illness, substance abuse,
Employment Projections, BLS.
financial crisis, unplanned pregnancy, and child or spousal abuse.

Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 27


Taking English in high school
and college
In high school English classes, most stu-
dents study basics such as vocabulary,
spelling, composition, reading, and gram-
Advanced communication mar. Learning how to construct sentences
Actors, directors, and producers and paragraphs lays the groundwork for
Administrative services managers writing effective letters, essays, term pa-
Adult education teachers pers, and reports. English classes also in-
Agricultural scientists clude exposure to literature, which
Biological and medical scientists teaches students to analyze other people’s
Chemists words and provokes thought by providing
Engineering, science, and computer systems managers insight into the human condition.
Foresters and conservation scientists
Geologists and geophysicists
Government chief executives and legislators Advanced communication
Lawyers and judges requires a strong ability to
Librarians
Management analysts and consultants communicate both orally and in
Manufacturers' and wholesale sales representatives writing; college-level English
Marketing, advertising, and public relations managers
Meteorologists courses are recommended.
Optometrists
Pharmacists College-level English courses are de-
Physician assistants signed to refine the skills learned in high
Physicians school. Subjects such as literature, writ-
Physicists and astronomers ing, and grammar are taught as individual
Podiatrists classes. These courses provide additional
Psychologists study and practice of communication.
Public relations specialists
Radio and television announcers and newscasters How English relates to careers
Reporters and correspondents You may think English classes only relate
School teachers, kindergarten, elementary, and secondary to a few occupations, such as writing or
Social scientists editing. But every job requires workers to
Social workers understand instructions quickly and to ex-
Special education teachers plain problems to supervisors and other
Speech-language pathologists and audiologists workers.
Urban and regional planners Good communication is essential for
Veterinarians most occupations, even those that require
Writers and editors little interaction with others. A problem
cited by employers of engineers, for ex-
ample, is that some technically competent
workers are unable to explain what they
are doing, to understand or explain what
their part of a project is, or to relate their
task to what others are doing.
Many occupations require frequent
communication. Sales workers must be

28 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999


able to speak effectively both on the tele-
phone and in person to present their
company’s products well. Lawyers and
managers need to express themselves
clearly and to analyze large amounts of
Intermediate communication information to be successful. Health care
Adjusters, investigators, and collectors workers must be able to understand their
Architects patients’ questions and concerns and to
Clerical supervisors and managers make patients understand how to main-
Construction and building inspectors tain their health. Psychologists and psy-
Construction and building managers chiatrists must be able to listen and com-
Designers municate effectively.
Employment interviewers
Financial managers Intermediate communication
Health information technicians
Health services managers requires the ability to accurately
Hotel managers and assistants give and follow instructions, to
Industrial production managers
Insurance agents and brokers persuade people to a particular
Library technicians point of view, and to write in an
Licensed practical nurses
Paralegals organized and grammatically
Pharmacists correct manner; both high
Physical therapists
Police, detectives, and special agents school and college English
Private detectives and investigators courses are helpful in
Property managers
Real estate agents, brokers, and appraisers developing these skills.
Receptionists
Recreation workers Developing communication skills
Recreational therapists The best way to begin developing com-
Registered nurses munication skills is to take high school
Respiratory therapists English classes. Reading outside of class
Restaurant and food service managers is also a good way to develop those skills
Retail sales worker supervisors and managers and to build an effective vocabulary. In
Retail sales workers addition, getting involved in extracurricu-
Secretaries lar activities improves communication
Securities and financial services sales representatives because of the interaction required. Some
Service sales representatives activities target specific abilities: Joining
Social and human service assistants the school newspaper or yearbook staff is
Travel agents a good way to work on writing skills; the
Travel guides debate team is ideal for developing speak-
ing skills.
The accompanying lists show occupa-
tions that require advanced, intermediate,
or basic communication skills. Advanced
communication requires a strong ability
to communicate both orally and in writ-

Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 29


ing; college-level English courses are rec-
ommended. Intermediate communication
requires the ability to accurately give and
follow instructions, to persuade people to
a particular point of view, and to write in
Basic communication an organized and grammatically correct
Bank tellers manner; both high school and college
Busdrivers English courses are helpful in developing
Cashiers these skills. Basic communication re-
Correctional officers quires the ability to interact with others
Counter and rental clerks and to follow simple oral and written in-
Court reporters, medical transcriptionists, and stenographers structions; high school English classes
Dispatchers are helpful but not essential in developing
Flight attendants this level of skill.
Funeral directors
General office clerks
Homemaker-home health aides Basic communication requires
Hotel and motel desk clerks the ability to interact with
Interviewing and new accounts clerks
Loan clerks and credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks others and to follow simple oral
Nursing aides and psychiatric aides and written instructions; high
Occupational therapy assistants and aides
Physical and corrective therapy assistants and aides school English classes are
Postal clerks and mail carriers helpful but not essential in
Prepress workers
Preschool teachers and child care workers developing this level of skill.
Proofreaders
Receptionists For more information on the level of
Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks education and training needed for specific
Routing and receiving clerks occupations, consult the Occupational
Service representatives Outlook Handbook, available in most li-
Taxidrivers and chauffeurs braries, career centers, and placement of-
Telephone operators fices and on the Internet at http://
Title searchers stats.bls.gov/ocohome.htm.
Typesetters
Typists, work processors, and data entry keyers
Visual artists

30 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999


Math and your
career
by Nancy Saffer
© Rainbow Photography

Math skills help us cope with today’s complex


world. We use math to carry out everyday tasks
such as balancing a checkbook, shopping for gro-
ceries, cooking, and creating a personal budget.
Carpenters use algebra and geometry to calculate the proper angles at
which to cut building materials. Other important skills we learn from studying math
include 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 workers
have 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 angles
when installing wood trim. Machinists need to un-
derstand and manipulate angles and dimensions.
Loan officers must determine applicants’ debt-equity
ratios before approving mortgage applications. And
math skills are required for any science, engineer-
ing, computer, and technical occupation.
Math is also an important part of a well-rounded
© The Terry Wild Studio

education. Most high schools require students to


take at least 2 years of math to graduate. And most
colleges require some proficiency in math for all
applicants, regardless of their intended majors.

Economists, economics professors, and marketing research analysts describe Nancy Saffer is an economist formerly with the Office of
economic and commercial activity using advanced statistical methods. Employment Projections, BLS.

Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 31


Careers for people
interested in math
Although most occupations require basic
math skills, some jobs rely on math more
heavily than others. If you have taken
many math courses, have a high aptitude
for math, or major in math in college, you
might be interested in some of the follow-
ing occupations.
Actuaries. Actuaries answer questions
about future risk, formulate investment
strategies, and make pricing decisions.
They may design insurance, financial,
and pension plans by calculating prob-
abilities of events such as sickness, dis-
Occupations in the advanced or theoretical math ability, or death based on known statistics.
A bachelor’s degree in mathematics or
skills category require an understanding of more statistics is required for an entry-level po-
complex math concepts such as calculus and sition in a life or casualty insurance com-
pany. Applicants must be proficient in
linear algebra. several mathematics subjects, including
calculus, probability, and statistics, and
have passed the beginning actuarial exams.
Advanced or theoretical mathematics Mathematicians. Mathematicians use
Actuaries their mathematical knowledge and com-
Agricultural scientists putational tools to create mathematical
Architects theories and techniques. They use these
Biological and medical scientists theories and techniques to solve eco-
Chemists nomic, scientific, engineering, and busi-
Computer scientists, computer engineers, and ness problems. Mathematicians often
systems analysts work with computers to solve problems,
Economists and marketing research analysts develop models, analyze relationships be-
Engineering, science, and data processing managers tween variables, and process large
Engineers amounts of data.
Foresters and conservation scientists Mathematicians need a minimum of a
Geologists, geophysicists, and oceanographers bachelor’s degree. People with bachelor’s
Mathematicians degrees may assist senior mathematicians
Mathematics teachers (secondary school and college) or work on less advanced problems. Most
Meteorologists mathematicians in the private sector need
Operations research analysts a master’s or doctoral degree.
Physicists and astronomers Operations research analysts. Opera-
Social scientists tions research analysts are problem solv-
Statisticians ers who usually work for large organiza-
tions or businesses. They help these
organizations operate more efficiently by
applying mathematics principles to organi-
zational issues. They work on problems

32 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999


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 such as facilities layout, personnel
schedules, forecasting, and distribution
be needed. systems. They often use mathematical
models to explain how things happen
within an organization and to determine
Applied mathematics how to organize things more effectively.
Accountants and auditors Most employers prefer to hire analysts
Administrative services managers who have a master’s degree in operations
Aircraft pilots research, industrial engineering, or man-
Budget analysts agement science.
Chiropractors Statisticians. Statisticians collect, ana-
College and university faculty (nonmathematics) lyze, and present numerical data and de-
Computer programmers sign, carry out, and interpret the results of
Construction and building inspectors surveys and experiments. Statisticians use
Construction contractors and managers mathematics techniques to predict things
Cost estimators such as economic conditions or popula-
Dentists tion growth, to develop quality control
Dispensing opticians tests for manufactured products, and to
Drafters help business managers or government
Education administrators officials make decisions and evaluate the
Engineering technicians results of new programs.
Farmers and farm managers For most beginning jobs in statistics, a
Financial managers bachelor’s degree in mathematics or sta-
General managers and top executives tistics is the minimum requirement. Many
Government chief executives and legislators research positions require a master’s or
Industrial production managers doctoral degree.
Insurance agents and brokers
Insurance underwriters Careers requiring
Loan officers and counselors strong math skills
Management analysts and consultants Some other jobs require a strong back-
Optometrists ground in math. The following occupa-
Pharmacists tions are among those in which strong
Physician assistants math skills are very important.
Physicians Physical and life scientists. Physical
Podiatrists and life scientists, including biologists,
Psychologists physicists, chemists, and geologists, work
Real estate agents, brokers, and appraisers to discover the basic principles of how the
Respiratory therapists earth, universe, and living things operate.
School teachers, kindergarten, elementary, and secondary The ability to use mathematical relation-
Science technicians ships to understand and describe the
Securities and financial services sales representatives workings of nature is vital.
Special education teachers Most scientists need a doctoral degree
Surveyors and mapping scientists in their field, especially those who work
Urban and regional planners in basic research, but some scientists in ap-
Veterinarians plied research may need only a bachelor’s
or master’s degree.
Social scientists. Social scientists per-
form research that helps us understand

Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 33


how individuals and groups make deci-
sions, exercise power, and respond to
Occupations in the practical math category may change. Many social scientists, especially
economists, describe behavior with math-
require algebra and geometry in addition to ematical models. Also, much of social
general math skills. scientists’ research depends on gathering
and understanding statistics that describe
human behavior.
As with physical and life scientists,
Practical application of mathematics many jobs involving research require a
Air traffic controllers
doctorate. However, many social science
Aircraft mechanics, including engine specialists
jobs involving applied research require
Automobile mechanics
only a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Automotive body repairers
Computer scientists and systems ana-
Blue collar worker supervisors
lysts. Workers in computer science occu-
Boilermakers
pations design computer systems and per-
Broadcast technicians
form research to improve these systems.
Carpenters
They may also program computers. Ad-
Concrete masons and terrazzo workers
vanced mathematics skills might not be
Diesel mechanics
necessary for computer programming;
Dietitians and nutritionists
however, training in mathematics helps
Electric power generating plant operators and power
develop an ability to think logically—a
distributors and dispatchers
necessary qualification for working with
Electricians
computers.
Electronic equipment repairers
Most of these workers have bachelor’s
Elevator installers and repairers
degrees in computer science, information
Farm equipment mechanics
systems, or computer engineering. Some
Funeral directors
research positions require a master’s or
General maintenance mechanics
doctoral degree.
Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration technicians
Engineers. Engineers use the theories
Industrial machinery repairers
and principles of mathematics to help
Inspectors, testers, and graders
solve technical problems. They also use
Jewelers
mathematics to design machinery, prod-
Landscape architects
ucts, or systems. Most entry-level engi-
Machinists and tool programmers
neering jobs require a bachelor’s degree.
Millwrights
Science and engineering technicians.
Mobile heavy equipment mechanics
Science and engineering technicians use
Motorcycle, boat, and small-engine repairers
the principles and theories of science, en-
Ophthalmic laboratory technicians
gineering, and mathematics to solve tech-
Photographers and camera operators
nical problems in research and develop-
Purchasers and buyers
ment, manufacturing, and other areas.
Sheetmetal workers
Their jobs are more limited in scope and
Stationary engineers
more practically oriented than those of
Tool-and-die makers
scientists and engineers, but technicians
Water and wastewater treatment plant operators
rely heavily on mathematics techniques
Welders, cutters, and welding machine operators
in their work.
There are many different ways of
qualifying for a position as a science and
engineering technician, but most jobs re-

34 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999


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

Other careers that require


Occupations in the general math skills category math skills
Math skills are useful in a number of
require basic arithmetic such as addition,
other occupations. For example, most
subtraction, multiplication, and division. jobs in the financial industry use math
skills. Bank tellers must have strong math
skills to be both accurate and efficient.
General mathematics Accountants need proficiency in math to
Bank tellers calculate and analyze numbers. Air traffic
Billing clerks and billing machine operators controllers need to understand maps and
Bindery workers geometry when directing planes. Manag-
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks ers of all kinds use math skills; for ex-
Bricklayers and stonemasons ample, hotel managers and assistants
Brokerage clerks and statement clerks must be able to estimate costs for items
Cashiers the hotel needs to order, such as food and
Counter and rental clerks drinks.
Drywall workers and lathers
Glaziers Preparing for careers in math
Interviewing and new accounts clerks The accompanying lists show occupa-
Library assistants and bookmobile drivers tions that require different levels of math
Loan clerks and credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks skills: Advanced, applied, practical, or
Manufacturers' and wholesale sales representatives general. Occupations in the advanced or
Medical assistants theoretical math skills category require an
Metalworking and plastic-working machine operators understanding of more complex math
Order clerks concepts such as calculus and linear alge-
Payroll and timekeeping clerks bra. Occupations in the applied math
Plasterers skills category include those in which
Postal clerks and mail carriers workers need to understand mathematical
Precision assemblers concepts and be able to apply them to
Prepress workers their work; in these occupations, knowl-
Printing press operators edge of statistics and trigonometry may
Private detectives and investigators also be needed. Occupations in the practi-
Reservation and transportation ticket agents and cal math category may require algebra
travel clerks and geometry in addition to general math
Roofers skills. Occupations in the general math
Secretaries skills category require basic arithmetic
Stock clerks such as addition, subtraction, multiplica-
Structural and reinforcing ironworkers tion, and division.
Taxidrivers and chauffeurs For more information on the level of
Teacher aides education and training needed for specific
Tilesetters occupations, consult the Occupational
Traffic, shipping, and receiving clerks Outlook Handbook, available in most li-
braries, career centers, and placement of-
fices and on the Internet at http://
stats.bls.gov/ocohome.htm.

Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 35


Science and your
career
by Nancy Saffer
© The Terry Wild Studio

Studying science helps us understand the discov-


eries that affect our daily lives. Every time we use a
telephone, television, or computer, we are using a
Pilots apply math and science whey they assess weather reports and create flight product of science. We use our knowledge of sci-
plans. ence when making decisions about our health and
diet. Even common hobbies, such as cooking, gar-
dening, and photography, rely on scientific prin-
ciples.
By studying science, we learn how the universe
works; 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 from
studying science are important in many occupa-
tions.
There are almost 400,000 scientists employed in
the 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 physics
© Kathy Sloane Photographic Arts

to rehabilitate patients. Journalists use scientific


knowledge when writing about technology, health,
or the environment. And scientific problem solving
skills are necessary for most computer occupations.
Science courses are also important if you want
an advanced education. College admissions officers

Physicans employ their extensive knowledge of biology and biochemistry in


Nancy Saffer is an economist formerly with the Office of
treating illness. Employment Projections, BLS.

36 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999


often favor individuals who have taken
science classes. Many colleges require at
least 2 years of high school science
courses, regardless of your intended ma-
jor. If you want to be admitted into scien-
tific and technical programs, you will
probably need 3 or 4 years of high school
science.

Careers for people


interested in science
Although science skills are helpful in
many occupations, some occupations rely
heavily on science. If you have a strong
Advanced science
Agricultural scientists Advanced science occupations
Architects
Archivists and curators require a thorough knowledge of
Biological and medical scientists scientific principles; a bachelor’s
Chemists
Chiropractors degree with a number of college
Computer scientists, computer engineers, and science courses is usually the
systems analysts
Dentists minimum requirement. But
Engineering, science, and computer systems managers many of these positions require
Engineers
Forensic scientists a master’s or doctoral degree.
Foresters and conservation scientists
Geologists and geophysicists
Landscape architects interest in science, you might want to con-
Meteorologists sider one of the following occupations.
Optometrists Biologists. Biologists study living or-
Pharmacists ganisms and their relationship to each
Physical therapists other and the environment. Most biolo-
Physician assistants gists specialize in one branch of biol-
Physicians ogy—for example, microbiology, the
Physicists and astronomers study of microscopic organisms; zoology,
Podiatrists the study of animals; or botany, the study
Respiratory therapists of plants. These branches are then subdi-
Teachers, secondary and college (sciences) vided. For example, types of zoologists
Veterinarians include mammalogists, who study mam-
mals; ichthyologists, who study fish; orni-
thologists, who study birds; and herpe-
tologists, who study reptiles and
amphibians.
Chemists. Chemists search for new
chemicals and find uses for existing ones.
Their discoveries might be used to pro-

Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 37


duce medicines or create stronger building
materials. Some chemists specialize in
one branch of chemistry. Biochemists, for
example, study the chemical composition
of 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 transfer
Applied science of energy, and the interaction of matter
Aircraft mechanics, including engine specialists
and energy. They study areas such as grav-
Aircraft pilots
ity, nuclear energy, electromagnetism,
Broadcast technicians
electricity, light, and heat. They might ex-
Cardiovascular technologists and technicians
amine the structure of the atom, or design
Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians
research equipment such as lasers. Physi-
College and university faculty
cists might also work in inspection, test-
Construction and building inspectors
ing, or other production-related jobs.
Construction contractors and managers
Dental hygienists
Dental laboratory technicians Applied science occupations
Dietitians and nutritionists
require workers to understand
Dispensing opticians
Drafters scientific principles and apply
Electroneurodiagnostic technologists
them to their work; some
Emergency medical technicians
Engineering technicians (all specialties) posthigh school science training
Health information technicians
is needed.
Health services managers
Licensed practical nurses
Nuclear medicine technologists
Agricultural scientists. Some types of
Occupational therapists
scientists work to improve agriculture.
Occupational therapy assistants and aides
Crop scientists study the genetic breeding
Photographers and camera operators
and management of field crops. Soil sci-
Physical therapists
entists use soil physics, soil chemistry,
Psychologists
and soil microbiology to enhance soil fer-
Radiologic technologists
tility and the growth of plants. Agrono-
Recreational therapists
mists develop practical applications for
Registered nurses
discoveries in plant and soil science to
Respiratory therapists
produce high quality food.
Science technicians
Other scientists. There are many other
Electronic semiconductor processors
branches of science. Geologists study the
Speech-language pathologists and audiologists
history and composition of our planet, in-
Surgical technologists
cluding volcanoes and earthquakes.
Surveyors and mapping scientists
Oceanographers study the oceans and
their movements. Meteorologists study
the atmosphere, and some make weather
predictions. Astronomers study the uni-
verse, trying to gain knowledge about the
stars, planets, and galaxies.

38 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999


Practical application of science
Automotive body repairers Although many scientists specialize,
Automotive mechanics most need to have knowledge in more
Barbers and cosmetologists than one branch of science. Agronomists,
Boilermakers for example, combine their knowledge of
Chefs, cooks, and other kitchen workers biology, geology, chemistry, and math-
Dental assistants ematics to find better ways to grow food
Diesel mechanics and conserve soil. They may also work
Electricians closely with other scientists, such as mi-
Electronic equipment repairers crobiologists, biochemists, meteorolo-
Elevator installers and repairers gists, and entomologists.
Farm equipment mechanics Engineers. Engineers use the prin-
Farmers and farm managers ciples and theories of chemistry, physics,
Firefighting occupations and mathematics to solve practical prob-
Fishers, hunters, and trappers lems. They develop new products and im-
Funeral directors prove systems and processes. Engineers
General maintenance mechanics design computers, generators, helicop-
Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration technicians ters, spacecraft, and other devices. Engi-
Home appliance and power tool repairers
Industrial machinery repairers Practical application occupations
Jewelers
Landscaping, groundskeeping, nursery, greenhouse, and require familiarity with the basic
lawn service occupations principles of biology, chemistry,
Machinists and tool programmers
Medical assistants or physics; high school courses
Millwrights in these areas should be
Mobile heavy equipment mechanics
Motorcycle, boat, and small-engine mechanics sufficient.
Nursing aides and psychiatric aides
Ophthalmic laboratory technicians
Pest controllers neering has many specialties. The largest
Pharmacy technicians are mechanical engineering, electrical
Photographic process workers and electronics engineering, and civil en-
Physical and corrective therapy assistants gineering.
Plumbers and pipefitters Mechanical engineers design and de-
Prepress workers velop power-producing machines, such as
Printing press operators internal combustion and rocket engines.
Stationary engineers Others design and develop power-using
Structural and reinforcing iron workers machines, such as refrigeration systems.
Tool-and-die makers Electrical and electronics engineers
Urban and regional planners design, develop, test, and supervise the
Vending machine servicers and repairers production of electrical equipment. This
Water and wastewater treatment plant operators includes computers, automobile ignition
Water transportation occupations systems, and wiring and lighting in build-
Welders, cutters, and welding machine operators ings. They also design communications,
video, and radar equipment.
Civil engineers design and supervise
the building of roads, bridges, tunnels,
buildings, airports, harbors, and water sup-
ply, flood control, and sewage systems.

Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999 39


content of foods. Farmers and horticultur-
ists use fertilizers and pesticides, the
products of chemistry. Electricians apply
the principles of physics when wiring a
building, and aircraft pilots use physics
and meteorology to plot flight paths and
fly planes.

Preparing for careers in science


Careers 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 classes
in high school as possible. Basic courses
in earth science, biology, chemistry, and
physics will form a solid foundation for
further study. A strong background in
mathematics is also important for those
who want to pursue scientific, engineer-
ing, and technology-related careers.
The lists show occupations requiring
© The Terry Wild Studio

different levels of scientific skill: Ad-


vanced, applied, or practical application.
Advanced science occupations require a
thorough knowledge of scientific prin-
ciples; a bachelor’s degree with a number
Understanding the physical properties of materials helps firefighters combat
of college science courses is usually the
different types of fires.
minimum requirement. Many of these po-
sitions require a master’s or doctoral de-
Technicians and technologists. Sci- Other careers that use science gree. Applied science occupations require
ence and engineering technicians carry Science skills are useful in many other workers to understand scientific prin-
out the plans of scientists and engi- occupations. For example, there are nu- ciples and apply them to their work; some
neers—setting up experiments, record- merous occupations in health care, and all posthigh school science training is
ing results, or testing product quality. require knowledge of biology and other needed. Practical application occupations
They may also design simple experi- sciences. Physicians, nurses, dentists, vet- require familiarity with the basic prin-
ments. These workers use testing and erinarians, and emergency medical tech- ciples of biology, chemistry, or physics;
measuring devices and have a solid un- nicians are just a few of the health occu- high school courses in these areas should
derstanding of laboratory techniques. pations that require an understanding of be sufficient.
Other technician occupations in- science. For more information on the level of
clude drafters, who prepare technical Many workers use chemistry and education and training needed for specific
drawings of structures and products; physics in their work. Chefs and cooks occupations, consult the Occupational
broadcast technicians, who install, re- use chemistry when creating recipes and Outlook Handbook, available in most li-
pair, and operate radio and television preparing food, because cooking ingredi- braries, career centers, and placement of-
equipment; and air-conditioning, re- ents are chemicals. Dietitians and nutri- fices and on the Internet at http://
frigeration, and heating technicians. tionists are also concerned with chemical www.stats.bls.gov/ocohome.htm.

40 Occupational Outlook Quarterly ● Summer 1999