The 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 about 775 detailed occupations according to their occupational definition. To facilitate classification, detailed occupations are combined to form about 450 broad occupations, about 95 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.
The SOC system uses hyphenated codes to divide occupations into four levels: major groups, minor groups, broad occupations, and detailed occupations.
- 29-0000: Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (major group)
- 29-1000: Health diagnosing and treating practitioners (minor group)
- 29-1020: Dentists (broad occupation)
- 29-1021: Dentists, general (detailed occupation)
The SOC classification system was updated in 2010, and the update to the 2018 classification is currently happening across various government LMI datasets.
For more information on Emsi’s use of SOC codes (including departures from the standard classification), see this article.