Standard Occupational Classification

The 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system is used by Federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. All workers are classified into one of 840 detailed occupations according to their occupational definition. To facilitate classification, detailed occupations are combined to form 461 broad occupations, 97 minor groups, and 23 major groups. Detailed occupations in the SOC with similar job duties, and in some cases skills, education, and/or training, are grouped together. General questions concerning the SOC may be sent by email or faxed to 202-691-6444.

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Federal Register notice for the 2018 SOC

On May 22, 2014, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published the Federal Register notice announcing review of the 2010 SOC manual for revision in 2018 and soliciting public comment on: the proposed revision of the 2010 SOC Classification Principles; the intention to retain the 2010 SOC Coding Guidelines; the intention to retain the 2010 SOC Major Group Structure; the correction, change, or combination of selected 2010 SOC detailed occupations, and inclusion of new detailed occupations. This review and revision of the 2010 SOC is intended to be completed by spring 2017 and then released to begin use in reference year 2018.

Comments should be submitted by July 21, 2014 as responses to the Federal Register notice, using the submittal procedures described in the notice. This will ensure comments and recommendations are included on the dockets that the SOC Policy Committee (SOCPC) will review.

The SOCPC encourages commenters interested in more background on the SOC to carefully review information provided before publication of the May 22, 2014 Federal Register notice in "Input Requested by the SOC Policy Committee," which is a section of "Revising the Standard Occupational Classification," a larger document that more fully describes the history and structure of the SOC.

2018 SOC Revision Process

Timeline for the 2018 SOC

Revising the SOC is a multi-year process, during which the SOCPC will formulate recommendations for revisions that are submitted to OMB for consideration. For the 2018 revision, the SOCPC began planning in early 2012. On May 22, 2014, OMB began soliciting public input through the Federal Register notice posted above. This process will lead to a proposed revision that is expected to be available for public comment through a second Federal Register notice in spring 2015 and publication of the final 2018 SOC codes, titles, and definitions in spring 2017.

The revision schedule is designed to minimize disruption to data providers, producers, and users by promoting simultaneous adoption of revised occupational and industry classification systems for those data series that use both. Given the multiple interdependent programs that rely on the SOC, this is best accomplished by timing revisions of the SOC for the years following North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) revisions, which occur for years ending in 2 and 7. The next such year is 2018, which has the additional benefit of coinciding with the beginning year of the American Community Survey 5-year set of surveys that bracket the 2020 Decennial Census. Thus, OMB intends to consider revisions of the SOC for 2018 and every 10 years thereafter.

1stFederal Register notice soliciting public input Spring 2014
SOCPC reviews public input, Federal agency input, and conducts own research; develops recommendations to OMB Through 2014
2ndFederal Register notice requesting comments on SOCPC recommendations Spring 2015
SOCPC reviews comments and develops final recommendations to OMB Through 2015
OMB reviews SOCPC recommendations Late 2015
3rdFederal Register notice announcing the final 2018 SOC structure, and occupation codes and titles Spring 2016
SOCPC completes occupational definitions and SOC Manual Through 2016
OMB publishes 2018 SOC Manual Spring 2017
Federal statistical agencies implement 2018 SOC Beginning 2018

The SOCPC encourages those interested in commenting, as well as others interested in the SOC, to monitor the SOC revision process on this website. To sign up to receive email notifications when this page is updated with new information on the SOC revision process for 2018, enter your email address in the “Subscribe to Standard Occupational Classification Update” box on the left-side menu of this page.

2010 SOC System

2010 SOC Downloadable Materials

2010 SOC Crosswalks

2010 SOC Publications

2010 SOC Revision Process Materials

On January 21, 2009, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a Federal Register notice detailing the final decisions for the 2010 SOC. Please refer to the PDF version available below for more detailed information.

As noted in the Federal Register notice of January 21, 2009, the SOCPC responses to the comments received are provided below.

Updating the Direct Match Title File

Overview. The Direct Match Title File (DMTF) lists associated job titles for detailed SOC occupations. Each of these titles is a direct match to a single SOC occupation. All workers with a job title listed in the DMTF are classified in only one detailed SOC occupation code. For example, because a "criminal law professor" would only be classified under 25-1112 Law Teachers, Postsecondary, the SOCPC would consider it a direct match. However, because a title such as "painter" could be classified in more than one occupation, including 27-1013 Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators 47-2141 Painters, Construction and Maintenance, or 51-9122 Painters, Transportation Equipment, the title "painter" is not a direct match.

Requests for additions to the DMTF. Although the SOC revision for 2010 is complete, the SOCPC will continue to serve as a standing committee and periodically consult with OMB, particularly to consider new and emerging occupations and additional titles for the DMTF. Interested parties should submit their request and materials in support of their recommendation to the SOCPC. Supporting materials should include the specific job title in question and the specific SOC code and title believed to be a direct match. The SOC is a task-based classification that does not differentiate occupations based on education or certification, but rather on the work performed. Therefore, the SOCPC will require information regarding the work of individuals with that particular job title. Once all of the materials have been received, the SOCPC will consider the activities involved in the specific job, and whether these activities are unique to that job.

All submissions must coincide with the SOC Classification Principles. The SOCPC encourages individuals and organizations to recommend additions to the DMTF by sending an email with the supporting material described above to soc@bls.gov. Requests will be accumulated throughout the year and presented to the entire SOCPC for approval on a quarterly basis.

2010 SOC Revision Process Materials

On January 21, 2009, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a Federal Register notice detailing the final decisions for the 2010 SOC. Please refer to the PDF version available below for more detailed information.

As noted in the Federal Register notice of January 21, 2009, the SOCPC responses to the comments received are provided below.

Updating the Direct Match Title File

Overview. The Direct Match Title File (DMTF) lists associated job titles for detailed SOC occupations. Each of these titles is a direct match to a single SOC occupation. All workers with a job title listed in the DMTF are classified in only one detailed SOC occupation code. For example, because a "criminal law professor" would only be classified under 25-1112 Law Teachers, Postsecondary, the SOCPC would consider it a direct match. However, because a title such as "painter" could be classified in more than one occupation, including 27-1013 Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators 47-2141 Painters, Construction and Maintenance, or 51-9122 Painters, Transportation Equipment, the title "painter" is not a direct match.

Requests for additions to the DMTF. Although the SOC revision for 2010 is complete, the SOCPC will continue to serve as a standing committee and periodically consult with OMB, particularly to consider new and emerging occupations and additional titles for the DMTF. Interested parties should submit their request and materials in support of their recommendation to the SOCPC. Supporting materials should include the specific job title in question and the specific SOC code and title believed to be a direct match. The SOC is a task-based classification that does not differentiate occupations based on education or certification, but rather on the work performed. Therefore, the SOCPC will require information regarding the work of individuals with that particular job title. Once all of the materials have been received, the SOCPC will consider the activities involved in the specific job, and whether these activities are unique to that job.

All submissions must coincide with the SOC Classification Principles. The SOCPC encourages individuals and organizations to recommend additions to the DMTF by sending an email with the supporting material described above to soc@bls.gov. Requests will be accumulated throughout the year and presented to the entire SOCPC for approval on a quarterly basis.

2000 SOC Archived Materials

Note: The documents below refer to the 2000 SOC

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