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Standard Occupational Classification

Docket Number 08‐0897 : Response to Comments on 2010 SOC : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Docket No. 08-0897 requested modifying SOC Classification Principle 2 to read "…education, training, and/or legally defensible and psychometrically sound credentials, such as those in compliance with the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) Standard for Accreditation for Certification Programs, needed to perform work at a competent level." [italics indicate the requested change] This request also recommended OMB, the SOCPC, and other Federal organizations work with the National Organization for Competency Assurance to "regularly update comprehensive information regarding credentials and credentialing organizations."

The SOCPC did not accept this recommendation. The SOC classifies occupations based on work performed, therefore unless a specific credential is required in order to work in a position (as in the case of licensed occupations), possessing a credential may enhance an individual's skills or employability but is not always a requirement for employment in the occupation. Persons employed in most occupations include both those who do not possess certain credentials, as well as those who do, with significant variation by locality and employer. No good information exists on the number or share of people in occupations who possess credentials. Further, many credentials are for specific skill sets, not for occupations, and would not be germane in any case.

As required by Classification Principle 9, the SOCPC also questioned whether agencies can reliably collect and report data such as whether individuals have or are required to have credentials. The SOCPC noted that in terms of promoting knowledge of available credentials, the U.S. Department of Labor does this in several ways, including through occupational information provided in the Occupational Outlook Handbook and through the searchable database called the Certification Finder, available through the Web site at

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Last Modified Date: April 8, 2009