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

July 7, 1997

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

1997 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) proposals for revising the 1980 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual's occupational units and aggregate groups. The SOCRPC is developing a new occupational classification system that will include 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 replace the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) occupational classification system currently used by 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 two prior Federal Register notices (February 28, 1995, 60 FR 10998-11002; October 5, 1995, 60 FR 52284-52286), the 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; and on the composition of detailed occupations. The categories proposed in this notice reflect the comments received from the two 1995 notices. After reviewing the comments on this notice, the SOCRPC will make its final recommendations to OMB. OMB will publish the SOCRPC recommendations in the Federal Register for public review and comment prior to taking final action on the 1997 SOC. The SOCRPC also will begin preparing the 1997 Standard Occupational Classification Manual for publication. Committee members will be completing definitions, assigning associated titles, and developing cross lists to existing systems.

Request For Comments: The OMB and the SOCRPC welcome comments with respect to any topic related to occupational classification, but are specifically interested in comments concerning the following:

(1) the hierarchical structure of the new SOC as reflected in Part IV of this notice in the Supplementary Information section 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 Part V 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 in the further development of the SOC, all comments must be in writing and received on or before sixty days from the date of this notice.

ADDRESSES: Please send comments to Paul Hadlock, Standard Occupational Classification Revision Policy Committee, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Suite 4840, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Washington, DC 20212. In addition, copies of draft occupational definitions may be obtained by writing to this address. All comments received in response to this notice will be available for public inspection at the Bureau of Labor Statistics during normal business hours, 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., in Suite 4840, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Washington, DC 20212. Please call BLS on (202) 691-6502 to obtain an appointment to enter the suite.

Electronic Availability and Comment: This document is available on the Internet from the BLS via World Wide Web (WWW) browser and E-mail. The SOCRPC also will place draft occupational definitions and crosslists to other occupational classification systems on the Internet as soon as possible. To obtain SOCRPC documents via WWW browser, connect to "http://www.bls.gov/oes_soc.htm". To obtain this document via E-mail or to submit comments, send a message to socrevision@bls.gov (use only lower case letters). Comments received at this address by the date specified above will be included as part of the official record.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Revision Process

The Standard Occupational Classification Revision Policy Committee (SOCRPC) used 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:

1. Administrative and Clerical occupations;
2. Natural Science, Law, Health, Education, and Arts occupations;
3. Services and Sales occupations;
4. Construction, Extractive, and Transportation occupations;
5. Mechanical and Production occupations; and
6. Military 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. In carrying out their reviews, the work groups carefully considered all proposals received in response to Federal Register notices issued by the OMB and the Committee.

II. General Characteristics of the Revised SOC

In the proposed revision of the 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 22 major groups (listed below), such as Management or Health 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 Health Occupations major group. Minor groups, in turn, are divided into detailed occupations, such as Compensation and Benefits Managers, or Physical Therapists. Detailed occupations are occasionally aggregated into broad occupations, such as Human Resources Managers or Therapists, for special purposes, such as data collection or reporting, or to provide logical aggregates for detailed occupations.

Each item in the hierarchy is designated by a six-digit code. The first two digits indicate major group, the third digit indicates minor group, and the last three digits indicate occupation. Major group codes end with 0000 (e.g., 21-0000, Health Occupations), minor groups end with 000 (e.g., 21-1000, Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners), and broad occupations end with 0 (e.g., 21-1050, Therapists). All residual ("All Other") occupations end with 9 (e.g., 21-1059, Therapists, All Other). Minor group residuals end with 99 (e.g., 21-1099, Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Other), and major group residuals end with 999 (e.g., 21-4999, Health-Related Workers, All Other).

The proposed 1997 SOC occupational groups and detailed occupations presented in Table 1 in Part IV below 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 Health Occupations
23 Community and Social Services Occupations
25 Legal Occupations
27 Education, Training, and Library Occupations
29 Arts, Design, Entertainment, Media, and Sports Occupations
31 Sales Occupations
33 Office and Administration Occupations
35 Protective Occupations
37 Food Preparation and Serving Occupations
39 Buildings and Grounds Maintenance Occupations
41 Personal Care and Service Occupations
43 Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations
45 Construction and Extractive Occupations
47 Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations
49 Production Occupations
51 Transportation and Material Moving Occupations
53 Military Occupations

III. Significant Changes and Responses to Comments

The chart below indicates that the total number of occupational classifications in the proposed 1997 SOC increased only slightly from those in the 1997 OES (which is much more current than the 1980 SOC).

1980 SOC 1997 OES 1997 SOC
Total Occupations 665 778 795

However, significant changes are proposed in certain areas. For example, the number of occupations in the areas of computers, design, science, health, law, education, and arts increased by 50% (from 192 OES occupations to 286 SOC occupations), while the number of occupations in the areas of mechanical and production occupations decreased by 35% (from 246 OES occupations to 157 SOC occupations).

To provide more comprehensive coverage for the new SOC, the SOCRPC worked closely with representatives of the Defense Manpower Data Center to include military occupations in a new Military Occupations major group. As a general principle in the proposed SOC, military occupations are listed with civilian occupations having similar duties. For instance, "Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers" (51-2011)includes both military and civilian workers. However, there are 20 military occupations for which no close civilian counterpart could be identified; these military-unique occupations are listed in the Military Occupations major group. In addition, the work group on military occupations modified titles and definitions of many occupations covered by other work groups to ensure proper coverage of military occupations within the civilian counterpart classifications.

In developing the detailed occupations and the hierarchical coding structure, the SOCRPC drew on the 53 comments received in response to the October 5, 1995, SOC Revision Federal Register notice as well as the recommendations of the SOCRPC work groups. The comments came from a variety of public and private organizations. Seventeen responses came from State Employment Security Agencies or State Occupational Information Coordinating Committees. Sixteen responses came from associations representing a particular occupational interest (such as Athletic Trainers, Audiologists, Boilermakers, School Psychologists, and Social Workers), and two responses came from private sector companies. The remaining responses came from Federal entities, including the Congress, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Social Security Administration. For a complete list of respondents, please see Part VI of this notice.

All together, 215 separate issues were identified in the commentors' correspondence. Generally, the issues fell into four broad categories: 1) new occupations not currently listed in the SOC; 2) various hierarchy issues (e.g., should Boilermakers be classified as production workers or construction workers?); 3)occupation or job title modifications to reflect more precisely the work performed; and 4) general comments on the revision process. The SOCRPC considered all issues in the public comments. Most recommended changes were implemented by the various work groups. Specific issues (e.g., additions, modifications) addressed by the work groups are listed below.

In the Management Occupations major group, the OES title "General Managers and Top Executives" was divided into "Chief Executives" (11-1001) and "General and Operations Managers" (11-1002). "Quality Control Managers" was added as an associated title for "Industrial Production Managers" (11-2031). The definition of "Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers" (11-2053) was modified to include "Logistics Managers." "Farm, Ranch, and Other Agricultural Managers" (11-3011) and "Farmers and Ranchers" (11-3012) were added to the revised SOC. The definition of "Construction Managers" (11-3021) was revised to include "Constructors." "Education Administrators, Preschool and Child-Care Center/Program" (11-3031) was added to the revised SOC. Finally, the definition of "Medical and Health Services Managers" (11-3044) was revised to include "Long-Term Care Administrators" and "Managed Care Specialists."

In the Business and Financial Operations Occupations major group, "Logisticians" (13-1021) and "Meeting and Convention Planners" (13-1023) were added to the revised SOC.

A Computer and Mathematical Occupations major group was created in the new hierarchy, with the following new or revised occupations: "Computer and Information Scientists, Research" (15-1001), "Computer Programmers" (15-1002), "Computer Software Applications Engineers" (15-1011), "Computer Software Engineers, Operating Systems" (15-1012), "Computer Support Specialists" (15-1021), "Database Administrators" (15-1022), "Network and Computer Systems Administrators" (15-1023), "Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts" (15-1031), "Systems Analysts, Science and Engineering" (15-1032), "Systems Analysts, All Other" (15-1039), and "Computer Specialists, All Other" (15-1099).

In the Architecture and Engineering Occupations major group, associated titles were added to "Aerospace Engineers" (17-2001). "Environmental Engineers" (17-2021) was added to the revised SOC. "Logistical Engineers" was added as an associated title for "Industrial Engineers" (17-2032). Associated titles were added to "Mechanical Engineers" (17-2043). The recommended title "Research Support Specialists" was not added to the revised SOC, as research support duties are performed by workers in the minor groups "Architectural, Engineering, and Mapping Technicians" (17-3000) and "Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians" (19-4000). Associated titles were added to "Architectural Technicians, Except Drafters" (17-3021) and "Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians" (17-3033). "Electro-Mechanical Technicians" (17-3034) and "Environmental Engineering Technicians" (17-3035) were added to the revised SOC. The recommendation that "Industrial Technologists" be added to the revised SOC was considered but not adopted, as these workers can be classified under "Industrial Engineering Technicians" (17-3036).

In the Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations major group, "Arborist" was added as an associated title under the new occupation "Soil and Plant Scientists" (19-1013). "Environmental Scientists" (19-2004) and "Environmental Science Technicians" (19-4004) were added to the revised SOC. All "Psychologists" occupations were placed into this major group, and the occupation "Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists" (19-3031) was added to the SOC. "Food Testers" was added as an associated title for "Agricultural and Food Science Technicians" (19-4001).

In the Health Occupations major group, the definition of "Registered Nurses" (21-1043) was revised to include "Registered Nurses," "Nurse Practitioners," "Clinical Nurse Specialists," "Nurse Anesthetists," and "Nurse Midwives." "Audiologists" and "Speech-Language Pathologists" were found to be sufficiently distinct occupations to justify separate classifications: "Audiologists" (21-1051) and "Speech-Language Pathologists" (21-1057). The definitions of "Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians" (21-2011) and "Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists" (21-2012) were revised, and the occupations "Cytotechnologists," "Blood Bank Technologists," and "Histotechnologists" were added as associated titles for "Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists." "Dental Hygienists" (21-2021) was placed in this major group. The OES title "Radiologic Technologists" was divided into "Diagnostic Medical Sonographers" (21-2031) and "Radiologic Technologists and Technicians" (21-2033), and language was added to the definition of "Radiologic Technologists and Technicians" to include technologists who specialize in other modalities such as computerized axial tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. "Respiratory Therapy Technicians" (21-2048) was added to the revised SOC. Finally, "Athletic Trainers" (21-4001) was added to the SOC and listed in this major group.

In the Community and Social Service Occupations major group, "Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselors" (23-1011) and "Marriage and Family Counselors and Therapists" (23-1012) were added to the SOC. The following occupations were added under the broad occupation "Social Workers" (23-1020): "Child, Family, and School Social Workers" (23-1021), "Medical and Public Health Social Workers" (23-1022), "Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers" (23-1023), and "Social Workers, All Other" (23-1029). All definitions and associated titles were updated to conform to current usage of these job titles.

In the Legal Occupations major group, the title and definition of "Paralegals and Legal Assistants" (25-1024) were modified.

In the Education, Training, and Library Occupations major group, "Teachers, Middle School" (27-1004) was added to the revised SOC. A new broad occupation titled "Librarians, Curators, and Archivists" (27-4000) was created in the proposed hierarchy, and the definition of "Librarians" (27-4021) was revised, but the proposal that "Librarians" be divided into "Librarians" and "Information Professionals" was considered but not adopted. Similarly, the recommendation that "Health Educators" be added to the revised SOC was considered but not adopted, as the current definition of "Instructional Coordinators" (27-5002), with a specific statement including "Public Health Educators," was judged to be sufficient.

In the Arts, Design, Entertainment, Media, and Sports Occupations major group, "Interpreters and Translators" (29-2007), "Floral Designers" (29-3003), and "Graphic Designers" (29-3004) were added to the revised SOC.

In the Sales Occupations major group, "Telemarketers" (31-2051) was added to the revised SOC.

In the Office and Administration Occupations major group, "Customer Service Representatives, Except Sales and Financial" (33-5005) was added to the revised SOC. The OES title "Stenographers and/or Court Reporters" was revised to "Court Reporters, Medical Transcriptionists, and Stenographers" (33-6001). The definition of "Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks" (33-7008) was revised to include "Production Schedulers," and "Inventory Control Managers" was added as an associated title for this occupation. "Central Supply Technicians" was added as an associated title for "Stock Clerks and Order Fillers" (33-7012).

In the Protective Occupations major group, the definition of "Fire Fighters" (35-2001) was updated to reflect these workers' range of responsibilities.

In the Food Preparation and Serving Occupations major group, "Caterers" was added as an associated title under the new occupation "First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Food Preparation and Serving Workers" (37-1001).

In the Buildings and Grounds Maintenance Occupations major group, "First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Landscaping, Lawn Service, and Groundskeeping Workers" (39-1002) was added to the revised SOC. The title and definition of "Landscaping and Groundskeeping Laborers" (39-3001) were modified. The title and definition of "Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation" (39-3002) were modified to include all custom applicators.

In the Personal Care and Service Occupations major group, several new casino occupations were added: "First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Gaming Workers" (41-1001), "Amusement and Recreation Attendants" (41-2001), "Games of Chance Attendants" (41-2011), "Gaming Dealers" (41-2012), "Mutuel Cashiers and Games of Chance Writers" (41-2013), and multiple associated titles. Also in this major group, "Concierges" (41-4002) and "Masseuses/Masseurs" (41-5004) were added to the revised SOC.

In the Construction and Extractive Occupations major group, "Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installers" (45-2062) was added to the revised SOC, and "Boilermakers" (45-2001) was moved into this major group.

In the Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations major group, five OES telecommunications equipment-related occupations were condensed to "Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers" (47-2003). "Avionics Technicians" (47-2011) was added to the revised SOC. The title and definition of "Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers, Transportation Equipment" (47-2013) were clarified to exclude aircraft and specify communications equipment, thus providing a place for workers who install, adjust, or maintain mobile electronics. The recommendation that "Industrial Electronics Technicians" be added to the revised SOC was considered but not adopted. These workers can be adequately classified as "Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment" (47-2014). "Recreational Vehicle Service Technicians" (47-3013) and "Manufactured Building and Mobile Home Installers" (47-4014) were added to the revised SOC, and the definition of "Recreational Vehicle Service Technicians" was adjusted to emphasize recreational vehicles and van conversions. Finally, all detailed machinery maintenance mechanics occupations from the OES were combined into one SOC occupation: "Industrial Machinery Mechanics" (47-4008).

In the Production Occupations major group, "Fiberglass Laminators and Fabricators" (49-2022) was added to the revised SOC. Printing occupations were condensed from nineteen OES occupations to two revised SOC occupations: "Prepress Technicians and Workers" (49-5005) and "Printing Machine Operators" (49-5006).

In the Transportation and Material Moving Occupations major group, the definition of "Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity" (51-3011) was modified to include motor coach drivers, and "Motor Coach Drivers" was added as an associated title.

The following issues affected several major groups. The recommended title "Early Childhood/Child Development Professionals" was found to be too vague. Child development professionals can be classified under one of the following titles: "Education Administrators, Preschool and Child-Care Center/Program" (11-3031), "Teachers, Preschool" (27-1001), "Teachers, Kindergarten" (27-1002), or "Child Care Workers" (41-5001). Similarly, the recommended title "Medical Coders" was not added to the SOC, as medical coding is done as part of the work performed by individuals in a number of occupations, including "Medical Records and Health Information Technicians" (21-2044), "File Clerks" (33-5007), and "Court Reporters, Medical Transcriptionists, and Stenographers" (33-6001).

IV. Next Steps in Process

After analyzing comments generated by this Federal Register notice, the SOCRPC will prepare its final recommendations to OMB for publication in the Federal Register. After considering public comment on that notice, OMB plans to publish its final decisions for the 1997 SOC in the Federal Register by the end of 1997.

The SOCRPC also will begin preparing the 1997 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 1997 SOC is comparable across Federal agencies, including regularly scheduled interagency communication to ensure that there is a smooth Federal transition to the 1997 SOC. In addition, the SOCRPC plans to periodically review and update the occupations included in the SOC to ensure that new occupations are promptly recognized and consistently classified across Federal agencies. The next major review and revision of the SOC is planned to begin in 2005 in preparation for use in the 2010 Decennial Census.

Sally Katzen

Administrator, Office of Informationand Regulatory Affairs

Last Modified Date: October 26, 2009

Recommend this page using: