When thinking about a career, whether it’s your first or will be your last, first and foremost must be an accounting of your skills and interests. Even deciding on an industry may still leave many questions. How do you select a particular occupation?

No one job is right for everyone, and many considerations go into the decision. Education level and cost are two. Potential salary is another, as are future job prospects. A further issue can be geographical, as positions vary in demand in different locales.

To aid your decision-making process LNP Media Group has developed an algorithm to rank Lancaster County occupations. Various components are measured and assigned a score ranging from 1 to 10, which, when totaled, ranks the viability of an occupation.

Five factors were analyzed using Bureau of Labor Statistics and Pennsylvania Center for Workforce Information & Analysis data:

1. Median salary: Most everyone would prefer a higher salary.

2. Employment rate: Positions with lower unemployment rates usually mean an easier time finding a job.

3. Growth volume: Occupations with higher levels of job growth indicate new job creations and, therefore, opportunities.

4. Growth percentage: This shows how quickly an occupation is expanding. Higher percentages indicate increased demand.

5. Replacement needs: Positions that have higher replacement needs can indicate occupations with higher retirements (think baby boomers) that need new workers to fill current positions.

Within the methodology an important note is that not every Lancaster County occupation has projection data. To compensate, and so as not to penalize a particular occupation, Pennsylvania state data is substituted for those factors only.

With an assigned score, occupations can be ranked in any number of ways. Take a look at the following lists for some guidance as you chart your career course.