Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System Manual

This new coding scheme is a must for government and business

The new Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system will be used by all Federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. State and local government agencies are strongly encouraged to use this national system to promote a common language for categorizing occupations.

All workers are classified into one of over 820 occupations according to their occupational definition. To facilitate classification, occupations are combined to form 23 major groups, 96 minor groups, and 451 broad occupations. Each broad occupation includes detailed occupation(s) requiring similar job duties, skills, education, or experience.

The SOC System was developed in response to a growing need for a universal occupational classification system. Such a classification system would allow government agencies and private industry to produce comparable data. Users of occupational data include government program managers, industrial and labor relations practitioners, students considering career training, job seekers, vocational training schools, and employers wishing to set salary scales or locate a new plant. It will be used by all federal agencies collecting occupational data, providing a means to compare occupational data across agencies. It is designed to cover all occupations in which work is performed for pay or profit, reflecting the current occupational structure in the United States.

How to order the book and CD-ROM

The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System Manual is available in a soft cover printed version and a Searchable CD-ROM.


Soft Cover Printed Version

NTIS Order Number: SOCSC1

Or call the NTIS sales desk at 1-800-553-6847 (703-605-6000).

A $5 handling fee is added to each total order for U.S., Canada, and Mexico; $12.50 for all others.



CD-ROM Version

NTIS Order Number: SOCCD1
Please specify number of users when ordering this CD-ROM.

Or call the NTIS sales desk at 1-800-553-6847 (703-605-6000).

A $5 handling fee is added to each total order for U.S., Canada, and Mexico; $12.50 for all others.


About the CD-ROM

The CD-ROM contains the complete print version. It also offers two additional features: database files of the codes and definitions on the web directory and a Computer Based Training (CBT) module. The database files may be uploaded to your hard drive, while the CBT module will help you reach the following objectives:

  • Define the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.
  • Identify some of the users of the SOC.
  • List the different aggregation levels of the SOC structure.
  • Utilize the SOC definitions as an aid in coding occupations.
  • Describe the components of the occupational code in detail.
  • Explain the principles and rules of occupational coding for the SOC.
  • Demonstrate the ability to code occupations based on coding guidelines.

The CD-ROM version also contains an easy-to-use search function as well as a computer based training program showing how to correctly code occupations.

More information

Occupational Information Network, Department of Labor

O*NET, the Occupational Information Network, adheres to the 1998 SOC. Information on this occupational classification system appears in "Replace with a Database: O*NET Replaces the Dictionary of Occupational Titles," Occupational Outlook Quarterly (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Spring 1999).

Labor Statistics industry-occupation matrix

The 1998 SOC will be incorporated into the Bureau of Labor Statistics industry-occupation matrix.