Standard Occupational Classification

CAUTION:

The information on this page relates to the 2000 SOC, for more recent information, see the 2010 SOC System.

SOC Federal Register Notice

August 5, 1998

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

1998 Standard Occupational Classification Revision
AGENCY: Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President
ACTION: Notice of solicitation of comments

SUMMARY

Under title 44 U.S.C. 3504, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is seeking public comment on the Standard Occupational Classification Revision Policy Committee's (SOCRPC) final recommendations for revising the 1980 Standard Occupational Classification's (SOC) occupational units and aggregate groups presented in this notice. The SOCRPC has developed a new occupational classification system that will cover all jobs in the national economy, including occupations in the public, private, and military sectors.

All Federal agencies that collect occupational data will use the new system; similarly, all State and local government agencies are strongly encouraged to use this national system to promote a common language for categorizing occupations in the world of work. The new SOC system will be used by the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for gathering occupational information. It will also replace the Bureau of the Census' 1990 occupational classification system and will be used for the 2000 Census. In addition, the new SOC will serve as the framework for information being gathered through the Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network (O*NET), which is in the process of replacing the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).

In three prior Federal Register notices (February 28, 1995, 60 FR 10998-11002; October 5, 1995, 60 FR 52284-52286; July 7, 1997, 62 FR 36337-36409), OMB and the SOCRPC requested comment on the uses of occupational data; on the existing 1980 SOC classification principles, purpose and scope, and conceptual options; on the SOCRPC's proposed revision process; on the composition of detailed occupations; on the hierarchical structure and numbering system; and on update procedures.

The structure and numbering system recommended in this notice reflect the comments received from the July 7, 1997, notice, and represent the final recommendations the SOCRPC is making to OMB. OMB, in consultation with the SOCRPC, will use the comments in response to this notice on the SOCRPC final recommendations to make its final decisions for the 1998 SOC and publish them in the Federal Register. The SOCRPC also will begin preparing the 1998 Standard Occupational Classification Manual for publication. Committee members will be completing definitions, assigning associated titles, and developing cross lists to existing systems.

This notice contains three appendices. Appendix A presents the SOCRPC's final recommendations in the form of the complete revised SOC hierarchical structure and numbering system; Appendix B provides a crosslist between the codes proposed in this notice and those proposed in the July 7, 1997, SOC Federal Register notice; and Appendix C lists respondents to the July 7 notice.

Request For Comments: OMB welcomes comments with respect to any topic related to occupational classification, but is specifically interested in comments concerning:

(1) the hierarchical structure of the new SOC presented in Appendix A below, especially the minor group, broad occupation, and detailed occupation organization within the structure, and the numbering system used, and

(2) the establishment of ongoing review and update procedures and a time frame for future revision as outlined in the "Next Steps in Process" recommendations near the end of the Supplementary Information section below. It is anticipated that the next major review and revision of the SOC will begin in 2005 in preparation for use in the 2010 Decennial Census.

DATES: To ensure consideration all comments must be in writing and received on or before October 9, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Correspondence about the adoption and implementation of the SOC as shown in this Federal Register notice should be sent to: Katherine K. Wallman, Chief Statistician, Office of Management and Budget, 10201 New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503, telephone number: (202) 395-3093, FAX number: (202) 395-7245.

Inquiries about the definition of particular occupations or requests for electronic copies of the SOC structure should be made to Laurie Salmon, Standard Occupational Classification Revision Policy Committee, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Room 4840, Washington, DC 20212, telephone number: (202) 691-6511, FAX number: (202) 691-6645.

Electronic Availability and Comment: This document is available on the Internet from the Bureau of Labor Statistics via WWW browser and E-mail. To obtain this document via WWW browser, connect to (http://www.bls.gov/soc/2000/soc_home.htm). This WWW page contains previous SOC Federal Register notices and related documents as well. To obtain this document via E-mail, send a message to socrevision@bls.gov.

Comments may be sent via E-mail to OMB at soc@omb.eop.gov (do not include any capital letters in the address). Comments received at this address by the date specified above will be included as part of the official record.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Salmon U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Suite 4840, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Washington, DC 20212; e-mail salmon.laura@bls.gov; telephone (202) 691-6511; FAX (202) 691-6645.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

Revision Process

The Standard Occupational Classification Revision Policy Committee (SOCRPC) chose the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) occupational classification system currently used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to gather occupational information as the starting point for the new Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) framework. The Committee also relied heavily on the Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network (O*NET), which is in the process of replacing the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). To carry out the bulk of the revision effort, the Committee created six work groups to examine occupations in the following areas:

Administrative and Clerical occupations;
Science, Engineering, Law, Health, Education, and Arts occupations;
Services and Sales occupations;
Agriculture, Construction, Extraction, and Transportation occupations;
Mechanical and Production occupations; and
Military Specific occupations.

The Committee charged the work groups with ensuring that the occupations under their consideration conformed to the criteria laid out in the October 5, 1995, Federal Register notice:

The Classification should cover all occupations in which work is performed for pay or profit, including work performed in family-operated enterprises by family members who are not directly compensated. It should exclude occupations unique to volunteers.

The Classification should reflect the current occupational structure of the United States and have sufficient flexibility to assimilate new occupations into the structure as they become known.

While striving to reflect the current occupational structure, the Classification should maintain linkage with past systems. The importance of historical comparability should be weighed against the desire for incorporating substantive changes to occupations occurring in the work force.

Occupations should be classified based upon work performed, skills, education, training, licensing, and credentials.

Occupations should be classified in homogeneous groups that are defined so that the content of each group is clear.

Each occupation should be assigned to only one group at the lowest level of the Classification.

The employment size of an occupational group should not be the major reason for including or excluding it from separate identification.

Supervisors should be identified separately from the workers they supervise wherever possible in keeping with the real structure of the world of work. An exception should be made for professional and technical occupations where supervisors or lead workers should be classified in the appropriate group with the workers they supervise.

Apprentices and trainees should be classified with the occupations for which they are being trained, while helpers and aides should be classified separately since they are not in training for the occupation they are helping.

Comparability with the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-88) should be considered in the structure, but should not be an overriding factor.

In carrying out their reviews, the work groups carefully considered all proposals received in response to Federal Register notices issued by OMB and the SOCRPC.

General Characteristics of the Revised SOC

In response to comments received in reference to the July 7, 1997, Federal Register notice, the SOCRPC significantly modified the hierarchical structure and numbering system of the revised SOC to ensure that all detailed occupations are placed within a broad occupation. In the revised SOC, there are four levels of aggregation: 1) major group; 2) minor group; 3) broad occupation; and 4) detailed occupation. All occupations are clustered into 23 major groups (listed below), such as Management or Healthcare Practitioner and Technical occupations. These major groups are broken down into occupationally-specific minor groups, such as Operations Specialties Managers in the Management Occupations major group or Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners in the Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations major group. Minor groups, in turn, are divided into broad occupations, such as Human Resources Managers or Therapists, which are further divided into detailed occupations, such as Compensation and Benefits Managers, or Physical Therapists.

Each item in the hierarchy is designated by a six-digit code. The hyphen between the second and third digit is used only for presentation clarity.

The first two digits of the new SOC code represent the major group; the third digit represents the minor group; the fourth and fifth digits represent the broad occupation; and the sixth digit represents the detailed occupation. Major group codes end with 0000 (e.g., 29-0000, Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations), minor groups end with 000 (e.g., 29-1000, Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners), and broad occupations end with 0 (e.g., 29-1120, Therapists). All residuals ("Other," "Miscellaneous," or "All Other"), whether at the minor group, broad occupation, or detailed occupation level, will contain a 9 at the level of the residual. Minor groups that are major group residuals will end in 9000 (e.g., 11-9000, Other Management Occupations); broad occupations that are minor group residuals will end in 90 (e.g., 11-9190, Miscellaneous Management Occupations ); and residual detailed occupations will end in 9 (e.g., 11-9199, Management Occupations, All Other):

11-0000 Management Occupations
11-9000 Other Management Occupations
11-9190 Miscellaneous Management Occupations
11-9199 Management Occupations, All Other

In the case where there are more than 9 broad occupations in a minor group (or more than eight, if there is no residual), the xx-x090 will be skipped (reserved for residuals), the xx-x000 will be skipped (reserved for minor groups), and the numbering system will go to xx-x110. The residual broad occupation will then be xx-x190 or xx-x290 (e.g., 51-9190, Miscellaneous Production Workers).

The proposed 1998 SOC occupational groups and detailed occupations presented in Appendix A are not always consecutively numbered because of these coding conventions as well as to allow for the insertion of additional occupational groups in future revisions of the SOC. In addition, the coding system is designed to allow those desiring a delineation of occupations below the detailed occupation level to use a decimal point and additional digit(s) after the sixth digit. It is recommended that users needing extra detail use the structure currently being developed for O*NET. Each occupation in the revised SOC will be placed within one of these major groups:

11 Management Occupations
13 Business and Financial Operations Occupations
15 Computer and Mathematical Occupations
17 Architecture and Engineering Occupations
19 Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations
21 Community and Social Services Occupations
23 Legal Occupations
25 Education, Training, and Library Occupations
27 Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations
29 Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations
31 Healthcare Support Occupations
33 Protective Service Occupations
35 Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations
37 Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations
39 Personal Care and Service Occupations
41 Sales and Related Occupations
43 Office and Administrative Support Occupations
45 Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations
47 Construction and Extraction Occupations
49 Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations
51 Production Occupations
53 Transportation and Material Moving Occupations
55 Military Specific Occupations

The SOCRPC is proposing that two aggregates of these major groups be used for survey tabulation purposes, when needed. The proposed aggregates are as follows:

Intermediate Aggregation (11 groups)
11-13 Management, Business, and Financial Occupations
15-29 Professional and Related Occupations
31-39 Service Occupations
41 Sales and Related Occupations
43 Office and Administrative Support Occupations
45 Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations
47 Construction and Extraction Occupations
49 Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations
51 Production Occupations
53 Transportation and Material Moving Occupations
55 Military Specific Occupations
High-level Aggregation (6 groups)
11-29 Management, Professional, and Related Occupations
31-39 Service Occupations
41-43 Sales and Office Occupations
45-49 Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance Occupations
51-53 Production, Transportation, and Material Moving Occupations
55 Military Specific Occupations

The 1998 SOC contains 810 detailed occupations, aggregated into 449 broad occupations. These broad occupations are grouped into 98 minor groups, which are, in turn, grouped into 23 major groups.

Significant Changes and Responses to Comments

In reply to the July 7, 1997, Federal Register notice, the SOCRPC received over 200 responses. All recommendations were considered by the Committee, and most were implemented. The Committee received numerous comments regarding the proposed hierarchical structure. The SOCRPC significantly revised the hierarchical structure and numbering system in response to these comments; please see Appendix A for the results of this restructuring. In addition, much of the correspondence questioned where specific unlisted occupations would be classified. The publication of index items and associated titles will clarify these issues. Specific issues (e.g., additions, modifications) implemented by the work groups are listed below; revised definitions will be made available on the SOC website. See Appendix B to match codes published in this notice with the codes published in the July 7, 1997, Federal Register notice.

In the Management Occupations major group, the detailed occupation "Treasurers, Controllers, and Chief Financial Officers" was deleted. In addition, the definitions of "General and Operations Managers" (11-1021), "Computer and Information Systems Managers" (11-3021), "Financial Managers " (11-3031), and "Education Administrators, Postsecondary" (11-9033) were modified.

In the Business and Financial Operations Occupations major group, the Committee disaggregated "Buyers and Purchasing Agents" into "Purchasing Agents and Buyers, Farm Products" (13-1021), "Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm Products" (13-1022), and "Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products" (13-1023). "Funeral Directors" (11-9061) was moved to the Management Occupations major group.

In the Computer and Mathematical Occupations major group, "Systems Analysts, Science and Engineering" and "System Analysts, All Other" were aggregated into "Computer Systems Analysts" (15-1051). The titles and definitions of "Computer Software Engineers, Applications" (15-1031) and "Computer Software Engineers, Systems Software" (15-1032) were modified, and "Mathematical Technicians" (15-3011) was added to the revised SOC.

In the Architecture and Engineering Occupations major group, "Architectural and Civil Drafters" and "Architectural Technicians and Technologists" were aggregated into "Architectural and Civil Drafters" (17-3011), and the definitions of "Computer Hardware Engineers" (17-2061), "Environmental Engineers" (17-2081), and "Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other" (17-3029) were modified.

In the Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations major group, "Epidemiologists" (19-1041) was added as a detailed occupation. Medical Physicists was added as an associated title under "Medical Scientists, All Other" (19-1049), and Public Health Policy Analysts was added as an associated title under "Social Scientists and Related Workers, All Other" (19-3099).

In the Community and Social Service Occupations major group, the title of "Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselors" was changed to "Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors" (21-1011) and the definition was modified. "Marriage and Family Counselors and Therapists" was retitled "Marriage and Family Therapists" (21-1013). HIV/AIDS Counselors and ASAT C.O.R.E. (American Society of Alternative Therapists Conscious, Ownership, Retrieval/Release, and Engage) Counselors were added as associated titles under "Counselors, All Other" (21-1019). The definition of "Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers" (21-1023) was modified, and "Health Educators" (21-1091) was added to the revised SOC.

In the Legal Occupations major group, new minor groups for "Lawyers, Judges, and Related Workers" (23-1000) and "Legal Support Workers" (23-2000) were created. The title and definition of "Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers" (23-1021) were modified, and the definitions of "Lawyers" (23-1011) and "Law Clerks" (23-2092) were also modified. The title of "Judges and Magistrates" was changed to "Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates" (23-1023). "Safety and Health Inspectors and Compliance Officers, Except Construction" was disaggregated into "Compliance Officers, Except Agriculture, Construction, Health and Safety, and Transportation" (13-1031) and "Financial Examiners" (13-2061) (in the Business and Financial Operations Occupations major group); "Occupational Health and Safety Specialists" (29-9011) (in the Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations major group); and "Agricultural Inspectors" (45-2011) (in the Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations major group). "Construction and Building Inspectors" (47-4011) was moved to the Construction and Extraction Occupations major group.

In the Education, Training, and Library Occupations major group, "Library Technicians and Assistants" was disaggregated into "Library Technicians" (25-4031) and "Library Assistants, Clerical " (43-4121). "Library Assistants, Clerical" was then moved to the Office and Administrative Support Occupations major group. "Teacher Aides" (25-9041) was retitled "Teacher Assistants," and the definitions for "Literacy, Remedial Education, and GED Teachers and Instructors" (25-3011), "Librarians" (25-4021) and "Special Education Teachers" (25-2041) were modified. "Sports and Physical Training Instructors and Coaches" was aggregated with "Coaches and Scouts" (27-2022), in the Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations major group, and "Educational, Vocational, and School Guidance Counselors" (21-1012) was moved to the "Community and Social Services" major group.

In the Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations major group, new minor groups for "Art and Design Workers" (27-1000), "Entertainers and Performers, Sports and Related Workers" (27-2000), "Media and Communication Workers" (27-3000), and "Media and Communication Equipment Workers" (27-4000) were created. "Dancers and Choreographers" was disaggregated into "Dancers" (27-2031) and "Choreographers" (27-2032). "Announcers" was disaggregated into "Radio and Television Announcers" (27-3011) and "Public Address System and Other Announcers" (27-3012).

The Health Occupations major group was disaggregated into Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations (29-0000) and Healthcare Support Occupations (31-0000); see the revised structure in Appendix A for details of this disaggregation. The definition of "Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians" (29-2031) was modified. "Health Service Coordinators" was deleted as a detailed occupation and added as an associated title under "Healthcare Practitioner and Technical occupations, All Other" (29-9099); associated titles added under this occupation were Hearing Aid Specialist, Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists, Optometric and Ophthalmic Technicians, and Dialysis Technicians. The title "Physical Therapy Assistants" was changed to "Physical Therapist Assistants" (31-2021), and the definition of "Medical Assistants" (31-9092) was modified. "Phlebotomists" was converted to an associated title under "Healthcare Support Occupations, All Other" (31-9099).

In the Protective Service Occupations major group, "United States Marshals" was deleted from the revised SOC.

In the Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations major group, no significant changes were made since the July 7, 1997, Federal Register notice.

The title of the Buildings and Grounds Maintenance Occupations major group was changed to Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations. "Landscaping and Groundskeeping Laborers" was retitled "Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers" (37-3011).

In the Personal Care and Service Occupations major group, "Skin Care Specialists" (39-5094) and "Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors" (39-9041) were added to the revised SOC, the definition of "Personal and Home Care Aides" (39-9031) was modified, and "Masseuses and Masseurs" was retitled "Massage Therapists" (39-9021).

In the Sales and Related Occupations major group, no significant changes were made since the July 7, 1997, Federal Register notice.

The title of the Office and Administration Occupations major group was changed to Office and Administrative Support Occupations. "Tellers and Customer Service Representatives, Financial Institutions" was disaggregated into "Tellers" (43-3061), "Customer Service Representatives" (43-4051), and "New Accounts Clerks" (43-4141). "Customer Service Representatives, Except Sales and Financial" was deleted. "Court Reporters, Medical Transcriptionists, and Stenographers" was disaggregated into "Court Reporters" (23-2091) in the Legal Occupations major group, and "Medical Transcriptionists" (31-9094), in the Health Care Support Occupations major group. The definition of "Computer Operators" (43-9011) was modified. "Insurance Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators" (13-1071) and "Insurance Appraisers, Auto Damage" (13-1072) were moved to the Business and Financial Operations Occupations major group.

In the Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations major group, "Veterinary Assistants and Nonfarm Animal Caretakers" was disaggregated into "Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers" and "Nonfarm Animal Caretakers." "Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers" (31-9096) was moved to the Healthcare Support Occupations major group, while "Nonfarm Animal Caretakers" (39-2021) was moved to the Personal Care and Service Occupations major group, along with "Animal Trainers" (39-2011). "Logging Equipment Operators" (45-4022) was added to the revised SOC.

In the Construction and Extraction Occupations major group, "Construction Laborers" was retitled "Construction Craft Laborers" (47-2061). This and the following definitions were modified: "Helpers-Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters" (47-3011), "Helpers-Carpenters" (47-3012), "Helpers-Electricians" (47-3013), "Helpers-Painters, Paperhangers, Plasterers, and Stucco Masons" (47-3014), "Helpers-Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters" (47-3015), and "Helpers-Roofers" (47-3016). "Construction Equipment Operators" was disaggregated into three occupations: "Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators" (47-2071), "Pile-Driver Operators" (47-2072) and "Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment operators" (47-2073). "Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installers" (49-2098) was moved to the Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations major group.

In the Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations major group, "Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers, Transportation Equipment" was disaggregated into "Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers, Transportation Equipment" (49-2093) and "Electronic Equipment Installers and Repairers, Motor Vehicles" (49-2096). "Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment" was disaggregated into "Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Industrial Equipment" (49-2094) and "Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay" (49-2095). Jet-ski Mechanics was added as an associated title under "Small Engine Mechanics" (49-3033). "Biomedical Engineering Technicians" and "BMET" were added as associated titles under "Medical Equipment Repairers" (49-9062). "Commercial Divers" (49-9092) was added as a new detailed occupation.

In the Production Occupations major group, "Molders, Shapers, and Coremakers" was retitled "Foundry Mold and Coremakers" (51-4071). "Desktop Publishers" (43-9031) was moved to the Office and Administrative Support Occupations major group.

In the Transportation and Material Moving Occupations major group, the definitions of the following detailed occupations were modified: "Commercial Pilots" (53-2012), "Drivers/Sales Workers" (53-3031), "Truck Drivers, Light or Delivery Services" (53-3033), and "Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators" (53-7051). "Elevator Operators" was deleted from the revised SOC.

In the Military Specific Occupations major group, no significant changes were made since the July 7, 1997, Federal Register notice.

Next Steps in Process

After analyzing comments generated by this Federal Register notice, OMB plans to publish its final decisions for the 1998 SOC in the Federal Register by the end of 1998.

The SOCRPC also will begin preparing the 1998 Standard Occupational Classification Manual for publication. Committee members will be completing definitions, assigning associated titles, and developing cross lists to existing systems. The SOCRPC is planning a process for ensuring that the implementation of the 1998 SOC is comparable across Federal agencies, including regularly scheduled interagency communication to ensure that there is a smooth Federal transition to the 1998 SOC.

It has been eighteen years since the last revision of the SOC. The SOC Revision Policy Committee urges the Office of Management and Budget to establish a new standing committee, the Standard Occupational Classification Review Committee, to ensure that the 1998 SOC remains appropriate to the world of work.

The new committee should meet twice per year to review proposals for changes in the SOC, such as the definition and placement of new occupations. In addition, it should provide timely advice to the Bureau of the Census during its 2000 Census occupations coding operation, particularly with respect to the proper classification of unfamiliar job descriptions and job titles. The committee should also undertake a thorough review of the entire SOC once per decade, perhaps in conjunction with preparations for the decennial census.

Because of this broad role, we recommend that the committee consist of representatives of the following agencies:

Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census
Department of Defense, Defense Manpower Data Center
Department of Education
Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Health Professions
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee
National Science Foundation
Office of Management and Budget (ex-officio)
Office of Personnel Management

We recommend that the Bureau of Labor Statistics chair the committee and staff its secretariat, and that it be given sufficient funds to carry out its secretariat duties, such as organizing working groups to make recommendations for changes.

Last Modified Date: July 28, 2003

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