Focus on Occupations

Graphic of with a Creative LensOctober is Inktober Month and November is National Novel Writing Month. Here at CareerLocker, we are focusing on people that make our world more beautiful and thoughtful through visual arts and written word. The Arts, Audio/Video Technology, and Communications Career ClusterTM  includes occupations where people create. Several pathways within the cluster are reflected in the occupations selected for this installment of Focus on Occupations. Pathways involve the following: audio and video technology and film, journalism and broadcasting, performing arts, telecommunications, and visual arts. Choreographers, photographers, medical and scientific illustrators, technical writers, and video game designers are occupations where people use their artistic, technological and communication skills.

Choreographerscreate dances that are set to music and express emotion or enhance a story. They develop original dances and interpretations of traditional dances for ballet, musical, or theatrical revues. They create dance routines that correlate with different styles of music from classical to ethnic, pop, rock, and jazz. Choreographers explain the emotions they tried to express within each routine to the dancers. They also write scores, diagrams with notations, which show the position(s) of each dancer and his or her movements in each dance. They hold rehearsals where they work with the dancers until they learn and perfect each dance routine. They may audition dancers to select those they think will best interpret and perform their dances. They may also direct stage productions in musicals and theater revues. This is a hot occupation. Over the next 10 years, job openings in this occupation are projected to increase by at least 27%.

Medical and scientific illustratorscreate drawings, paintings, diagrams, and three-dimensional models of body parts and organs. These are used in medical publications, exhibits, research, and teaching activities. They use a variety of mediums including pen and ink, watercolors, plaster, wax, plastics, and photographic equipment. They are increasingly utilizing computer graphic software packages to create illustrations. Some illustrators specialize in creating materials for a particular medical field such as pathology, cardiology, or embryology.

Photographerstake pictures of people, places, objects, and events. They select various camera filters and lenses, build sets, and work with props to create the desired effects. Many photographers specialize in such fields as portrait, news, or commercial photography. Portrait photographers capture and record special moments in people’s lives. They must have the ability to accommodate and direct large groups of people because many of their clients are wedding parties. Press photographers capture the actions and feelings of people making the headlines or affected by news events. Commercial photographers select film, lighting, and settings to convey expressions and emotions that market products.

Technical writers–prepare reports, manuals, bulletins, and articles for a wide variety of applications. They must write about complex matters in simple, easy-to-understand language. They study technical subjects until they understand the concepts involved. They then use their communications skills to write about these subjects. Some create policy and procedural manuals, user manuals for small appliances, and assembly instructions for items such as toys. Others write about more technical or scientific subjects such as computer science, engineering, and biological sciences. They also write reports for scientists and researchers who understand scientific and technical terms.

Video game designerswrite the blueprints for computer games. They decide the mission, theme, and rules of play. They write a document which fully explains what will happen in the game. Video games are big business. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just kids who are playing them. According to some studies, the average age of video game players is now 33. Game sales have risen steadily since the mid 1980s. In 2004, for the first time ever, the video game industry made more money than the entire movie industry in the United States.


PrintNetworking is the process of building professional relationships or social networks where professionals share information, resources, and talents. There are many ways to network, yet many people feel overwhelmed or unsure how to network. More jobs are filled through networking than any other method, an estimated 85 percent. The majority of jobs are part of the hidden job market. In the hidden job market, jobs are not posted, but instead filled through networking or internal candidates. So, how can you succeed in a world where who you know can be as important as what you know? What are some ways to find the hidden job market and network, especially when you are at the beginning of your career, changing careers, or moving to a new place? It is not only important to know networking types, but also how to network.

Types of Networking

  • Meet Face-to-Face. From formalized meetings to chance encounters, every interaction is an opportunity to network. Probably the most effective way to build your network is meeting someone in person. This often makes the most profound and lasting connection. After you have connected, ask for a business card and share yours. Make sure to follow-up with the connection you have built via a networking site, e-mail, phone, or scheduling a face-to-face follow-up meeting. Remember to thank people for their time.
  • Online Introductions. Join online networking sites such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to connect with others in similar jobs and to connect further with people you have met. Headhunters, and human resource professionals, such as hiring managers, use resources such as LinkedIn and Facebook to find potential job candidates and learn about them. Keep your LinkedIn profile current and your Facebook content professionally appropriate.
  • Join Professional or Student Organizations. Professional organizations and career based student organizations are an excellent way to build your network. Whether you are moving to a new city, beginning college, seeking your first job, or a seasoned professional, professional organizations help their members stay up-to-date with the latest happenings in the field and to stay connected.

Networking Tips

  • Be Genuine and Listen. Be your best professional self, and genuinely seek to learn something about the other person. People enjoy sharing what they love about life and their work. People advanced in their career care about the longevity of their occupation and legacy, they want to share their story. Remember to listen to what the person is sharing and to ask follow-up questions. Most people want to share, connect, and be listened to.
  • Remember and Follow-Up. When meeting someone new, follow-up with them and indicate how much you enjoyed meeting and request a further interaction. People are honored when you remember something about them and your conversation. To help you remember, write a note on the back of their business card indicating how you met them and highlighting some important information about them you want to be sure to remember.
  • Get Involved. Joining professional organizations, talking with others, and reading the latest on your profession are among the best ways to remain connected to your network and knowledge. If you have a harder time with networking, volunteer to complete tasks. For instance, offer to check people in at a professional development event. You will meet others and show them your professionalism rather than having to talk about it.

Whatever type of networking you do or how you network, networking is an essential skill in the world of work. As we enter further into the new millennium, technology and hard skills are often highlighted, yet soft skills like connecting with others, learning from others, and collaborating are as important as ever.

Plan of Study for Higher Education

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CareerLocker announces the launch of a new module, Plan of Study for Higher Education. Made with adult students pursuing higher education in mind, this module helps people plan their course selection and meet the requirements for graduation. They can select a CareerClusterTM and occupations to create a personalized plan of study based on their interests.

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If people are unsure what occupations they are interested in, they can create multiple alternative plans of study depending upon what direction their career trajectory could take them. This module is designed to be implemented in conjunction with consultation with their advisors, counselors, and higher education professionals.

Watch CareerLocker’s short video explaining how to use Plan of Study.

Focus on Occupations: Educators Build Communities of Learners

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Labor Day marks the end of summer, kicks off fall, and back-to-school. Schools are comprised of caring professionals who serve their communities by bringing their knowledge of best learning and teaching practices, supporting the development of the entire child. They help students expand their academic, physical, socio-emotional, vocational, and cognitive development. Here at CareerLocker, we recognize the hard work of these amazing professionals. From the teacher to the principal to the school maintenance worker, so many work together to enhance the welfare of children, adolescents, and adults. These children grow into adults who contribute to our community, country, and ultimately the world. Some of the education-related professions include education administrators, elementary and secondary school teachers, physical education teachers, school counselors, and speech-language pathologists.

  • Education Administrators–manage educational institutions or departments within them. Some direct the activities of preschools, while others supervise instruction in primary and secondary schools. Educational administrators select and supervise staff, prepare budgets, and evaluate programs. They preside over meetings and advise on matters related to their programs. They also attend school functions and promote good public relations.
  • Elementary school teachers–usually teach children in grades one through eight. They plan and teach lessons. They design learning activities for students each day. They also test and record the progress of each student. They discuss these records with parents. Some elementary teachers specialize in areas such as art, music, or physical education. In some schools, two or three teachers work together to teach classes. This is called team teaching.
  • Secondary school teachers–teach middle school or high school students. They teach specific subjects such as English, math, social studies, and science. Teachers usually teach five or six classes per day. They prepare lesson plans, conduct class discussions, give homework assignments, and tests. They also correct homework and grade tests. They monitor the progress of their students and discuss it with their students’ parents. Some coach athletic teams or serves as advisors to clubs.
  • Physical Education Teachers–teach sports and exercises to children and young adults in grades one through twelve. They plan games and exercises that improve fitness and develop students’ motor and coordination skills. These games and exercises are suited to the ages and abilities of their students. Physical education teachers may teach general fitness courses that provide regular exercise or teach the use of sports special equipment such as trampolines or weights. They teach the rules and techniques of indoor and outdoor sports, such as volleyball, basketball, or football.
  • School Counselors–work with all students to help them develop the skills they will need to learn, communicate, and work effectively. They help students identify their interests, skills, aptitudes, and educational goals. They help students plan their academic programs so they graduate from high school prepared for work or postsecondary education. Counselors give standardized tests to students to measure their achievement in school. They have students complete interest inventories or other questionnaires to help them identify their strengths, recognize problem areas, and explore career options. Counselors interpret these test results for students, their parents, and teachers.
  • Speech-Language Pathologists–work with people who have speech or language impairments. They evaluate the impairment of each individual and develop a therapy program to help each of them communicate more effectively. In early intervention programs, they work with infants and toddlers who have a variety of physical and/or developmental challenges. They work with families identifying their concerns, priorities, and preferences for their children. A comprehensive plan of care is developed for each individual that includes speech and language. Speech-language pathologists try to prevent communication problems from occurring. They test children to see if they speak as well as other children of the same age.

Resume Maker Returns with Reference List Writer and Plan of Study

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To kick off the start of the school year, CareerLocker announces new and updated modules.

Resume Maker has returned with the addition of combination resumes and new samples. Students and clients can export their resume from Resume Maker to Word. This new function allows people to use the ePortfolio and Resume Maker as a jumping off point to tailor their resume to the position they are applying for.

Reference List Writer helps you track the names and contact information of your references. Save this information to the ePortfolio or add in Reference List Writer. Quickly export this information to Word creating the perfect handout, uploadable document, or list to aid in your job search process or when applying to college.

Plan of Study for High Schoolers has been enhanced. The new and improved version offers simplified methods of entering coursework and tracking what courses are completed. At CareerLocker, we always value your feedback and ideas on how to make CareerLocker better. Coming soon, Plan of Study for Adults.

If you have ideas or suggestions for CareerLocker, contact Amy Rivera, your Sales and Training Representative.

High Demand Occupations

High Demand Occupations GraphicThere are many ways to explore what occupations are and will be in high demand. One way is through data projections, such as those conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another method is tallying the number of job postings within an occupation. The occupations with the most job openings are considered the highest in demand. For instance, nursing assistants, the top high demand job in Wisconsin, had over 1,473 job postings so far in 2017. Last year, 3,336 nursing assistant job posting were listed across the state throughout the entire year.

This month, CareerLocker focuses on high demand occupations requiring a technical college education. Some top high demand jobs requiring a technical degree or certificate in the state of Wisconsin include nursing assistant, administrative professionals, marketing (digital marketing, marketing management), electromechnical technology (manufacturing), early childhood education, and accounting. For more information on jobs in demand, Wisconsin Technical College Systems provided a table outlining jobs in demand.

Nursing assistant–Certified nursing aides/assistants (CNAs) assist medical patients under the supervision of registered nurses. They work in a variety of settings from hospital nurseries to skilled nursing facilities. CNAs take and record body temperatures, pulses, and breathing rates. They report any changes in patients’ appearance, behavior, or physical ability to their nursing supervisor. They bathe, dress, and feed patients.

Marketing professionals–Marketing managers develop plans for making goods or services that are attractive to consumers. Their goal is to learn what kinds of products certain people are most likely to buy and then develop products that can meet their needs. To do this, marketing managers study reports that tell the ages, incomes, buying habits, and lifestyles of the people who buy similar products. This demographic information, along with information on consumer preferences such as color, food, fashion, styles of art and furniture, or taste in music, help marketing managers target the kind of consumers who would be most interested in purchasing new products.

Electromechnical technology–Electromechanical technicians assist engineers in designing new robotics equipment or operate and maintain existing robotic equipment. They read blueprints, schematics, and technical notes from engineering staff to ascertain the steps involved in constructing the robotic prototype. They construct metal housings called assemblies that contain the electrical and/or electronic parts. They measure clearances and dimensions as they proceed with the assembly to verify that it meets the specifications outlined by the engineering team. They operate the robotic equipment and perform routine tests, recording all test results and keeping operational logs of each prototype that they share with the engineering staff.

Early childhood education–Child care assistants work with other assistants, teachers, and supervisors to plan and guide preschool age children in developmentally appropriate activities. These activities are designed to support, guide, and nurture children as they interact with others and their environment. They plan play and learning activities that help children learn how to relate to the world around them. They teach children how to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and develop skills that allow them to become more self-sufficient. In order to accomplish these goals, they provide large and small group activities such as singing, games, crafts, and stories. They plan field trips to broaden children’s exposure to the world around them and introduce them to new experiences. They also help children develop responsibility by teaching them to put toys away, care for small animals, or care for their personal clothing items that are stored in their individual cubicles

Accounting–Bookkeeping clerks maintain records of the financial transactions of businesses. They record profits and expenditures. They also write reports on how businesses use their money. Some work with company payroll, which is a list of all the employees at the company and the amount of money that each employee is paid. They may be responsible for submitting all tax reports to the appropriate government agencies. In some firms, they prepare bills and record all accounts receivable, which are records of money that customers owe the company.

Summertime Builds It FORWARD in Wisconsin: Architecture and Construction Occupations

Architecture and Construction Occupations GraphicHere in Wisconsin the seasons are Winter and Construction, Construction, Construction. At the Center on Education and Work, we highlight occupations that involve architecture, building and construction. Whether they are designing or building, architects or electricians, people in these occupations help to create beautiful and practical works of art, the buildings we dwell in and the roads we travel on.

  • Architects design homes, schools, churches, office buildings, apartment complexes, and shopping centers. Architects meet with their clients to determine the function and size of the building they want designed. They often work with engineers, city planners, and landscape architects to create safe, functional, and attractive structures. They design the structures and estimate the construction costs. They may also recommend contractors to actually build the structures.
  • Building Contractors build homes, commercial buildings, and other structures by a specified date for a predetermined cost. They usually hire subcontractors such as plumbers, bricklayers, and electricians to perform specialized construction tasks. Building contractors estimate the cost of labor and materials to complete construction projects based on the blueprints of the proposed structures. They determine the materials needed and purchase them once they are awarded contracts.
  • Electricians install and maintain electrical systems in residential, commercial, industrial, and public buildings. Their work responsibilities range from installing conduit in the structural walls of high rise buildings to installing outlets and lighting fixtures in new home construction or remodeling projects. This is a Hot Occupation. Over the next 10 years, job openings in this occupation are projected to increase by at least 20%.
  • Sheet metal duct installers place heating and air ducts in homes, commercial buildings, and factories. They read blueprints, measure fittings, and install the ducts using hand, welding, and power tools. They check for air leaks that would allow heat or cool air to escape. They correct or replace parts that have leaks.
  • Construction workers do many jobs on building, repairing, or wrecking projects. They also work on construction crews that build roads, bridges, buildings, dams, and sewers. They load and unload trucks, moving materials between work areas. They sort and stack lumber and other construction materials. Construction workers clean tools and machines. They remove rubble from work areas.

Keeping Current with Occupation Information

CareerLocker Update: Salaries & Outlook

School may be almost out, but the latest occupation information is hot off the presses or hot off the hard drive and into the internet! During the spring, two essential updates to occupation information were made available. These updates are from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS). Here is a summary of what has been updated.

  • The most recent wage and salary information from BLS has been integrated into CareerLocker. New information is now available for metropolitan statistical areas (larger cities), states, and the nation.
  • A feature, only available on CareerLocker, uses data from WTCS on their graduation placement rates. Over 66%, almost 17,000 of their graduating students, responded to this survey. This data highlights the number of WTCS graduates in the labor force. A more detailed report on the survey is available on the WTCS website.
  • To explore how the data has been refreshed, check out the improved website. For an example of the updated wage and outlook data, view plumbers via the side navigation under outlook and salary.

Pay It FORWARD with Helping Occupations

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The spring time brings awareness of physical and emotional health. American Heart, Autism, ALS, Celiac, Disabilities, Lupus, Mental Health, Oral Hygiene, and Stroke Awareness Months as well as National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, run between February and June. The people who support others in their physical and emotional health are members of helping professions. This spring CareerLocker highlights professionals who help with the health care and well-being of others. From dental hygienists to psychologists, people in the helping professions help us all live life to our fullest and be our best selves.

  • Dental Hygienists help dentists care for patients’ teeth. They help their patients maintain oral health and prevent oral diseases. They may treat teeth to prevent cavities. They also take X rays of teeth. They keep careful records of patients’ dental care and review these records with them. They help patients prevent gum disease and tooth decay. They teach people the best way to brush and floss their teeth. They also explain the importance of a proper diet for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
  • Medical Laboratory Technicians work with medical technologists in collecting specimens and running common chemical tests in medical laboratories. Physicians use the results of these tests to diagnose and treat illnesses and diseases. In addition, medical laboratory technicians are trained to handle scheduling, general office duties, and to assist physicians in clinics. They use sophisticated computerized equipment to analyze specimens. They also use microscopes, cell counters, and centrifuges. In larger laboratories or research institutions medical laboratory technicians may clean and sterilize instruments, glassware, and equipment to ensure that test samples will not become contaminated. This is a Hot Occupation.
  • Primary Care Physicians diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases. They use their knowledge and expertise in conjunction with the results of diagnostic tests to treat the mental and physical problems of patients of all ages. They perform complete physical examinations. They treat most common illnesses. Their care includes early intervention, diet information, emotional counseling, and the monitoring of growth and development. They advise individuals and families on preventative health care practices and recognize the symptoms of disease and illness. They prescribe medication and see that immunizations are kept up to date. They also report to public health authorities any births, deaths, and cases of contagious diseases.
  • Psychologists study how people think, feel, and act when they are alone and when they are with others. They try to understand, explain, and sometimes change people’s behavior if it is detrimental to themselves or others. They also help people adjust to new situations in their lives. They interview and test people to collect information. They may use school or medical records to learn more about their patients, and to identify factors that are influencing their behaviors. They devise plans for helping people to live with or overcome obstacles to their mental health and well-being.
  • Special education teachers work with children who have a physical or mental condition that has hindered their normal development. They identify the strengths and needs of each student, as well as the concerns and priorities of their student’s parents. All of these factors are considered in the development of an educational plan for each individual student. They may incorporate music, art, books, computers, play, and daily routines in their educational plans. Whatever the activities or materials used to teach, they evaluate and monitor the progress of each individual student. They also encourage family members to help students with their learning activities at home.  In most states, special education students are included in regular educational settings whenever possible. Special education teachers explain the unique strengths and needs of their students to the other teachers who may not familiar with their special challenges.

Dental Hygienists and Medical Laboratory Technicians are Hot Occupations. Over the next 10 years, job openings in this occupation are projected to increase by at least 27%.

CareerLocker: Still a Slam Dunk to help you Select a College or University

Basketball HoopThe National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) annually oversees March Madness Division I men’s and women’s basketball championships. The students, who participate in these tournaments, reflect excellence both on the court and in the classroom. CareerLocker is a valuable resource to teach you about the 132 colleges and universities represented by these college student athletes.

Pick your Teams

Every year NCAA releases a list of brackets for the tournament. Again this year, UW-Madison professor of industrial and systems engineering, Laura Albert McLay, uses data analytic techniques to try to accurately predict NCAA winners. Dr. McLay has been on several news shows talking about “bracketology.” In addition, UW-Madison library is conducting a book bracket, where students select the winning book. Matilda, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings are among previous winners.

Selecting your Winning School

The extensive CareerLocker website lists over 6,000 colleges and universities. Use CareerLocker’s compare colleges and schools to create side-by-side comparisons of your contenders for schools to attend. The website lists general information, student body, costs, financial aid, admissions, sports, majors and degrees, and ROTC information. Wherever you decide to attend school, CareerLocker is a slam dunk, supporting you through your decision-making process!