Standard Occupational Classification System

The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System is a United States government system of classifying occupations. It is used by U.S. federal government agencies collecting occupational data, enabling comparison of occupations across data sets. 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. The 2010 SOC includes 840 occupational types.[1]

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.

The SOC codes have a hierarchical format, so for example the code "15-0000" refers to occupations in the "Computer and Mathematical Occupations" category, and "15-1130" is a subset for "Software Developers and Programmers".[2]

The SOC does not categorize industries or employers. There are parallel category systems for industries used with SOC data, most commonly NAICS.

Other countries

National variants of the SOC are used by the governments of the United Kingdom,[3] Canada,[4] Spain[5] the Philippines,[6] and Singapore.[7]


  • Architecture and engineering occupations
  • Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations
  • Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations
  • Business and financial operations occupations
  • Community and social services occupations
  • Computer and mathematical occupations
  • Construction and extraction occupations
  • Education, training, and library occupations
  • Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations
  • Food preparation and serving related occupations
  • Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations
  • Healthcare support occupations
  • Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations
  • Legal occupations
  • Life, physical, and social science occupations
  • Management occupations
  • Military specific occupations
  • Office and administrative support occupations
  • Personal care and service occupations
  • Production occupations
  • Protective service occupations
  • Sales and related occupations
  • Transportation and material moving occupations


The SOC was established in 1977, and revised by a committee representing specialists from across U.S. government agencies in the 1990s. [8] SOC codes were updated again in 2010, and on November 28, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a Federal Register notice detailing the final decisions for the 2018 SOC.[9]

See also


  1. Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. 2010 SOC Major Groups] at
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-11-06. Retrieved 2005-09-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2006-08-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-08-25. Retrieved 2005-09-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-07-20. Retrieved 2005-09-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. Revising the Standard Occupational Classification System, June 1999, pages iii, 1.
  • U.S. Department of Labor (2000). Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual (2000 ed.). Washington, D.C.
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