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Exploring Career Options

by John Clay
September 2015

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DEED's new Career and Education Explorer tool is making it easier than ever for people to gather specific career information on topics like wages, job demand, educational requirements and more.

If you're looking for a job or exploring a new career, there's a new online tool that can help. Career and Education Explorer, available at mn.gov/deed/cee, offers a wide range of occupational information in an easy-to-use online tool. Simply choose your region, choose your occupation and go.

Browse an overview of the occupation and then select detailed information pages about wages, demand, education, typical tasks on the job and more. Employers also can use Career and Education Explorer to quickly and easily find a broad range of information on an occupation in any region of the state.

The value of Career and Education Explorer is that it gathers occupational information from DEED's many databases and presents it in a way that's especially intended for career or occupational exploration. For convenience, every page includes an "Apply for Jobs" link to actual job postings in your selected occupation. You'll still find our other tools useful for comparisons of wages or demand across occupations, such as the ranked list of 530 occupations in our Occupations in Demand tool. But to learn everything you can about a specific occupation in a specific region, you'll want the convenience of Career and Education Explorer.

As an example, a person researching a career as a "database administrator" will find that demand is high, that 680 openings are expected in the Twin Cities region over the next 10 years, and that professional and business services is the industry that employs the most database administrators and pays the highest wages. The career researcher also will find that a bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement and that only 17 percent of people in this occupation have more than a bachelor's degree. So maybe a higher degree is a good way to stand out from the crowd.

A closer look will show that a computer systems analyst closely matches the skills and education level required for a database administrator. Although systems analyst positions typically pay a few dollars less per hour, there are many more openings expected over the next 10 years: 3,830 for computer systems analysts versus 680 for database administrators. Maybe computer systems analyst is a good backup plan for this career explorer.

Keeping It Local

We talked with job seekers, career counselors and business representatives while developing the Career and Education Explorer tool, and they told us they want to get as local as possible. So we focused the tool on each of Minnesota's 13 economic development regions. These regions are small enough to capture local flavor and big enough, with enough employers and workers, to allow for reliable estimates of wages and demand.

Sometimes a larger sample of the population is necessary for a reliable picture of the labor market. For example, we estimate the 10-year projections of future openings at the broader level of the planning region, which contains a job seeker's selected economic development region. For one-year projections, we offer estimates at the statewide level.

One of a Kind

What features are unique to Career and Education Explorer?

  • Career and Education Explorer provides detailed local wage data. It shows wages for Minnesota's 13 economic development regions, and it shows how high and low wages can go for selected occupations by displaying the 10th to 90th wage percentiles. The tool also shows the median wage offer for vacancies from the state's Job Vacancy Survey to provide a current snapshot of wage offers in a specified area.
  • Career and Education Explorer provides cost of living estimates for a typical Minnesota family of three from the state's Cost of Living Study.
  • Career and Education Explorer shows current demand for each economic development region, 10-year growth and openings for each planning region, and one-year growth and openings for the state.
  • Career and Education Explorer shows the education level of people already working in each occupation, specifically for Minnesota. This information has not been available in our online offerings in the past.

Making It Better

In the coming months, we will make Career and Education Explorer's navigation links more intuitive and add more data while maintaining clarity and simplicity. The "Apply for Jobs" link to the CareerOneStop website will be replaced with an "Apply for Jobs" page, allowing users to search jobs without leaving Career and Education Explorer. We will also add contact information for thousands of Minnesota businesses from CareerOneStop's Business Finder. Additionally, we'll expand our education page with information on required experience and occupational requirements helpful to Minnesotans receiving vocational rehabilitation services.

The best way to learn about Career and Education Explorer is to try it out at mn.gov/deed/cee.

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