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.
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, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) intends to consider revisions of the SOC for 2018 and every 10 years thereafter.
Timeline for the 2018 SOC
Revising the SOC is a multi-year process, during which the interagency SOC Policy Committee (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 published a 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. The comment period for this notice closed on July 21, 2014. The SOCPC sent email confirmations containing a tracking/docket number for each public comment and reviewed all comments.
The proposed revision of the SOC for 2018 is now available for public comment through a second Federal Register notice published on July 22, 2016. As referenced in the notice, the SOCPC developed responses to each public comment, the 2018 hierarchical structure, and preliminary definitions for 2018 SOC occupations, available below.
- Proposed hierarchical 2018 SOC structure: Type of change by detailed occupation (XLS)
- Note: Spreadsheet includes separate tabs showing the deleted detailed, broad, and minor group 2010 SOC codes
- Preliminary 2018 SOC definitions
- with changes tracked (PDF)
- without changes tracked (HTML) (PDF)
In addition to general comments on the SOCPC’s recommendations for the 2018 SOC, OMB welcomes comments specifically addressing: (1) changes to the 2018 SOC Classification Principles and Coding Guidelines recommended by the SOCPC; (2) the proposed hierarchical structure of the 2018 SOC, including changes to major, minor, broad, and detailed occupation groups; (3) the titles, placement, and codes of new occupations that the SOCPC is recommending be added in the revised 2018 SOC; and (4) preliminary definitions for revised and proposed 2018 SOC occupations.
To ensure consideration of comments on the SOCPC’s recommendations detailed in this notice, please submit all comments in writing as soon as possible, but no later than September 20, 2016. Commenters should follow the instructions detailed in the July 22, 2016 notice.
A third notice announcing the final 2018 SOC structure and occupation codes and titles is expected by Spring 2017, then publication of the final 2018 SOC codes, titles, and definitions for implementation in reference year 2018.
|1st Federal Register notice soliciting public input
||May 22, 2014 to July 21, 2014
|SOCPC reviews public input, Federal agency input, and conducts own research; develops and forwards recommendations to OMB
|2nd Federal Register notice requesting comments on SOCPC recommendations
||July 22, 2016 to Sept. 20, 2016
|SOCPC reviews comments and develops final recommendations to OMB
|OMB reviews SOCPC recommendations
|3rd Federal Register notice announcing the final 2018 SOC structure, and occupation codes and titles
|SOCPC completes occupational definitions and SOC Manual
|OMB publishes 2018 SOC Manual
|Federal statistical agencies implement 2018 SOC
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.
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.
- The 2010 SOC User Guide (entire guide, PDF):
- What’s New in the 2010 SOC (PDF)
- Classification Principles and Coding Guidelines, 2010 SOC (PDF)
- Standard Occupational Classification and Coding Structure, 2010 SOC (PDF)
- FAQs and Acknowledgements, 2010 SOC (PDF)
- 2010 SOC Structure (PDF) (XLS)
- 2010 SOC Definitions (PDF) (XLS)
- Type of change by detailed occupation, 2010 SOC (XLS)
- Alphabetical Index to the 2010 SOC (HTML) (XLS)
- UPDATED Direct Match Title File, 2010 SOC (XLS, PDF, 254 pages)
- Spanish Translation of the 2010 SOC, “Manual de Clasificación Ocupacional Uniforme” (PDF, 443 pages)
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.
- Federal Register Notice, January 21, 2009 (PDF)
- Federal Register Notice, May 22, 2008 (PDF)
- Federal Register Notice, May 16, 2006 (PDF)
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 email@example.com. Requests will be accumulated throughout the year and presented to the entire SOCPC for approval on a quarterly basis.
Note: The documents below refer to the 2000 SOC
- 2000 SOC User Guide
- 2000 SOC Structure (PDF) (XLS)
- 2000 SOC codes, titles, and definitions (XLS)
- Revising the Standard Occupational Classification System (PDF) - Report 929, June 1999
- Federal Register notice, September 30, 1999 (PDF)
- Federal Register notice, August 5, 1998 (PDF)
- Federal Register notice, July 7, 1997 (PDF)
- Federal Register notice, October 5, 1995 (PDF)
- Federal Register notice, February 28, 1995 (PDF)
- Selected crosswalks are available from the National Crosswalk Service Center (NCSC), a federally-funded national clearinghouse for classification information about occupations, training programs and industries. The NCSC has been operated by the State of Iowa since 1983 under a series of grants from federal agencies. Funding for the Center has been provided by the Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor since 1996. The NCSC provides specialized tools (files, reports, software) and technical assistance to users and producers of occupational information.
For additional information
concerning the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system, contact us at:
- Email: Contact us
- Telephone number: 202-691-6500
- Fax number: 202-691-6444
- Mail address: Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Suite 2135, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington DC 20212-0001