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Career Resources

Sources for career and industry research with an emphasis on identifying issues and trends.

Identifying Issues & Trends

Use Professional Association Websites

Professional association and organizational websites are excellent resources for identifying issues and trends in your career field. There are professional and trade organizations for almost every industry or career.

What to Look For:Search Icon

Once you've found the website for a professional organization, you should . . .

  • Look for links such as: News, Newsletters, Topics, Publications, Research, Blog, Advocacy, Conference Agenda, Meeting Notes, Press Releases, etc.
  • The titles of workshops, professional development sessions, or conferences can also give you a pretty good idea of what issues are important in that field.
  • If the organization or association publishes any journals or trade publications, you can usually find those listed under Publications. You may not be able to access the full text of the articles, but you may be able to see the titles and summaries, which will allow you to identify issues and trends.


Search for Articles:

Once you have identified some issues or trends relevant to your field, you can then move on to search for resources that discuss those particular issues in more detail.

Find & Use Association Websites

Search for Professional Organizations

In addition to finding basic information about your career, you can use the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) to find professional organizations related to your field.

Here's how:

  1. Search the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) - [opens a new window] to find a guide with information on your career.
  2. Once you've found a guide, look at the tabs across the top. Find and click the More Info tab to see a list of professional organizations.


The OOH guide for Occupational Therapy Assistants - [opens a new window] includes a More Info tab. Click the More Info tab to see a list of professional organizations.

Click the "More Info" tab to see a list of professional organizations.


Once you've clicked the More Info tab, look under Contacts for More Information to see what organizations are listed. Follow the links to the website(s). In this example, there is a link to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) website.

Look under "Contacts for More Information" to find links to organizations.


Once you click an organization link, the website will give you an extra page alerting you to the fact that you will be leaving this website and going to another one. Just click the link provided to proceed to the organization website.

Exit message on BLS/OOH website: Thanks for visiting us. You are now exiting the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.


Once you get to the organization website, look around for things that will give you clues as to what sorts of issues are important in the field. In the case of the AOTA website, reading through the information found under the tabs labeled "Advocacy & Policy," "Education & Careers," and "Publications & News" may be most helpful. A close reading the information about AOTA's legislative victories from 2018, seems to imply that the organization has worked very hard to have occupational therapy formally recognized as a treatment option in mental health and opioid addiction. This means that we can now search for articles from journals and trade publications that talk about how occupational therapy, mental health, and/or opioid addiction are related.

Keep in mind that every organizational website is different and that some may include more information than others. Many sites may also keep much of their information locked so that only members of that organization can access it.

AOTA website with tabs highlighted.

Search for State & Local Organizations

Search for State & Local Organizations

Use an Internet search engine to see if there are local chapters or state-level organizations in your field.

Internet search examples:

  • "North Carolina" nursing association
  • "North Carolina" construction association
  • "North Carolina" agriculture association

Internet Search Engines: