Inside the NEW NCcareers.org

Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Author: 
Jamie Vaughn

You do not have to be Indiana Jones to be a (career) explorer!

Everyone grab your wide-brimmed fedora!  It is time for the first entry of our Inside the NEW NCcareers.org series.  The NEW NCcareers.org was launched on July 15, 2020 and includes not only a more engaging design, but additional functionality to enhance a user’s career exploration capabilities.  Over the next few months, we will review the new site and provide tools and tips on how you can get the most out of the new career exploration tool

This article focuses on the Explore Occupations section of the site accessible by clicking the “Explore Occupations” icon on the front page.

Before you drill down to learn about each filter, here are some tips to better understand how to use filters on the site:

  • To activate a filter or update the selection(s) on an active filter – you must click the “apply filter” feature located at the bottom right of the filter’s drop-down menu.  To deactivate a filter, you can click the “Clear Filter” feature on the filter’s drop-down menu.
  • A “Clear Filter(s)” link is located on the right-hand side of the page directly above the Avg. Annual Openings column.  Clicking that link will remove all selected filters and restore the occupations list to the default statewide geography.
  • You can immediately see the effect of an applied filter at the top of the screen. On the left-hand side directly above the Occupation Titles you will see the number of occupations that match the filtered criteria. As you apply filters and refines the search criteria, this number will decrease.

The Explore Occupations page has eight filters to apply and narrow searches. When the pill icons are active, they turn from white to blue. Each filter allows you to refine a search and narrow the list of occupations.  You can apply any number and combination of the given filters.

Geography: When you navigate to the Explore Occupations page using a main navigation link at the top of each page, the only active filter is “Location” – which defaults to Statewide.  Two filters help you filter to the geographic areas – statewide or one of 16 regions – of your search.  This is helpful to understand how the demand and salary for an occupation changes by location as some occupations are in higher demand in certain areas of the state than others – think about how in demand a marine biologist would be in the mountains versus on the coast.  Both the map and location icon control the chosen geography.  The map icon provides a map of the state to select for individuals that are more visual while the location icon provides a list of region names for users that are more familiar with the names of city and towns.

Career Cluster: The Career Cluster filter allows you to select one of the 16 Career and Technical Education (CTE) Career Clusters – which is a way to group occupations that share similar features – to limit a search.  The Career Cluster Match tool can help you understand which Career Cluster(s) best match your desired combination of work, skill and academic interests.

Star Rating: An occupation’s Star Rating can help you better understand the long-term career prospects based on LEAD’s Star Jobs methodology, specifically whether is it growing or shrinking, does it pay well, and is it in demand.  The more stars an occupation is assigned, the better the long-term prospects.  You can choose to see only five star rated occupations or select a minimum number of stars. The star rating of an occupation can change by location.

Salary Range: Pay is an important component in choosing a career and is often one of the first questions a career explorer may ask. This filter allows you to set a range – by sliding ther circles left or right – for the salary required to live a desired lifestyle. The Salary Range filter uses the most recent occuaptional median wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics (OES). How to determine a proper pay may sometimes be confusing, often for individuals just starting out their careers. Reality Check can help individuals estimate the income necessary to support their chosen lifestyle.

Education Level: What occupations are attainable with your education level? This filter allows you to see what opportunites are available with different educational attainment, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) minimum education standards. You can check one or more selections.

Interests: This allows you to filter by Holland Codes – a way of matching interests to occupations.  You  can input up to three codes – a primary, secondary, and third Holland Code – or select one or two to increase their occupational options.  You can determine your Holland Codes and learn more about what each code means by using Interest Finder and taking the short – 30 question – or long – 60 question – quiz.

Abilities: Individuals may have limitations on what they are comfortable doing on the job. This could be due to a disability or other reasons. Utilizing the Abilities filter, you can remove occupations that require specific abilities, as defined by O*NET. It should be noted that individuals with disabilities can work with a professional counselor from the NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind to learn and take advantage of accommodations to make more jobs accessible.

After the appropriate filters have been applied and a short list of occupations is generated, you can sort your list based on the factors most important to you.  Occupations can be sorted – either highest to lowest or lowest to highest – by six criteria:  Median Annual Wage, Annual Growth Rate, Average Annual Openings, Star Rating, Education Required, or Alphabetically.  This is accomplished by clicking on the “Sort by” link on the left side of the screen.  You can select a criteria to sort and the list will be sorted smallest to largest.  Clicking the arrow will change the sort to display largest to smallest.  Another way to sort by Median Annual Wage, Annual Growth Rate or Average Annual openings is to click on the column headers on the right of the screen.  You can only sort on one criteria at a time. 

After you have finished the work of applying filters, you may want to save your search or share your list with teachers, counselors, friends or family.  In the near future, you’ll be able to save this directly to your own profile on NCcareers and through embedded social media buttons.  But in the meantime, this can easily be accomplished by copying the URL from the browser’s address bar and pasting it into a Word Doc, email, text or notepad.  You can also recall the search at a later date by saving the page as a bookmark in your favorite browser.  

We hope you enjoy the NEW NCcareers.org.  Look for more articles soon to help you take full advantage of the features and functionality in the new NCcareers.org.