Click one of the following questions to view the answer.
 
1) What is the SOC?
2) What is the purpose of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system?
3) How are occupations classified in the SOC?
4) How is the SOC structured?
5) Where can I find definitions of the 2010 SOC occupations?
6) Where can I find additional information about the SOC system?
7) When will the next SOC revision take place?
8) Why did NCES change the occupational categories in the IPEDS HR survey in 2012-13?
9) Is there a summary of resources that relate to the new IPEDS occupational categories and the 2010 SOC?
10) For IPEDS reporting, are institutions required to code and report all occupations at the lowest, detailed SOC level?
11) Can the previous IPEDS primary function/occupational activity categories be mapped to the new IPEDS occupational categories?
12) What is the relationship between IPEDS reporting and the SOC Postsecondary Teachers 25-1000 category?
 
 
Answers:
 
1) What is the SOC?
The Standard Occupational Classification system, or SOC, is designed to reflect the current occupational structure of the United States.
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2) What is the purpose of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system?

The SOC system is used by Federal statistical agencies to classify workers and jobs into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, analyzing, or disseminating data. All Federal agencies that publish occupational data for statistical purposes are required to use the SOC in order to increase data comparability.

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3) How are occupations classified in the SOC?
Occupations in the SOC are classified based on work performed and, in some cases, on the skills, education, and/or training needed to perform the work at a competent level.

This is SOC Classification Principle #2, available at the following link: http://www.bls.gov/soc/soc_2010_class_prin_cod_guide.pdf.]

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4) How is the SOC structured?
The SOC is a tiered occupational classification system with four levels: major group, minor group, broad occupation, and detailed occupation. The 23 major groups are broken down into 97 minor groups, followed by 461 broad occupations, and finally 840 detailed occupations.
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5) Where can I find definitions of the 2010 SOC occupations?
A pdf version of the 2010 SOC definitions can be found at the following website: http://www.bls.gov/soc/soc_2010_definitions.pdf. A link to the Excel version of the definitions can be found at the following SOC homepage under the category called “2010 SOC, Downloadable Materials:” http://www.bls.gov/soc. While the SOC system is a four-level tiered system, SOC definitions only exist at the lowest occupational level, which is known as the “detailed occupation” level.
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6) Where can I find additional information about the SOC system?
Refer to the following SOC homepage at: http://www.bls.gov/soc.
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7) When will the next SOC revision take place?
The next major review and revision of the SOC is expected to begin in 2013 in order to produce a 2018 version of the SOC.
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8) Why did NCES change the occupational categories in the IPEDS HR survey in 2012-13?
The IPEDS HR survey was changed to comply with the requirement to align IPEDS HR reporting with the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. Also, prior to 2012-13, most of the occupational categories and corresponding definitions in the IPEDS HR survey and its predecessor called the Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS) remained basically the same for over two decades. (The 2010 SOC reflects changes in the workforce over the last decade.)
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9) Is there a summary of resources that relate to the new IPEDS occupational categories and the 2010 SOC?
The IPEDS HR/SOC Information Center can be found at: http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/resource/soc.asp.  
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10) For IPEDS reporting, are institutions required to code and report all occupations at the lowest, detailed SOC level?
IPEDS does not require institutions to code ANY occupations at the detailed SOC level.  IPEDS does not require institutions to report most occupations at the detailed SOC level.  Most of the occupational data in IPEDS are collected at a higher level (e.g., major level); however, there are a few instances where data are collected at a lower level (e.e., detailed) such as Librarians. 

For IPEDS purposes, institutions should report their employees in the categories defined in the IPEDS HR survey.  For example, a College President would most likely fall under the detailed SOC occupation of "Education Administrators, Postsecondary" (11-9033) where the first 2 digits (11) of the SOC code represent the SOC "major group."  Based on the IPEDS HR/SOC crosswalk at http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/resource/download/IPEDS_HR_2010_SOC_Crosswalk.pdf, the SOC code of 11-0000 corresponds to the SOC major group of "Management Occupations," which is crosswalked to the IPEDS HR "Management Occupations" category.
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11) Can the previous IPEDS primary function/occupational activity categories be mapped to the new IPEDS occupational categories?
In most cases, no. The detailed occupations in the 2010 SOC with similar job duties, and in some cases skills, education, and/or training, are grouped together.  Consequently, many categories such as “technical and paraprofessional” and “other professionals (support/service)” no longer exist in IPEDS. 

For example, for the 2011-12 IPEDS HR survey, “Dietitians and Nutritionists” were included in the “Other Professional (support/service) category while “Dietetic Technicians” were included in the Technical and Paraprofessionals" category. In the 2012-13 IPEDS HR survey, “Dietitians and Nutritionists” and “Dietetic Technicians” are included in the SAME major occupational category called “Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations.” 

However, the Instructional Staff (Primarily Instruction and Instruction Combined with Research and/or Public Service), Research Staff, and Public Service Staff categories remained the same.  
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12) What is the relationship between IPEDS reporting and the SOC Postsecondary Teachers 25-1000 category?

Postsecondary Teachers is an occupational category in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual with the SOC code 25-1000.  This category is not an IPEDS reporting category because staff generally regarded by institutions as "faculty" are not only instructional staff, but can be research staff and public service staff as well.  Postsecondary Teachers is not a good description of these occupational categories on postsecondary campuses, and introduces confusion into the reporting done by institutions.

However, because of the requirement to align with the SOC, all three categories (instructional staff, research staff, and public service staff) are included individually under the Postsecondary Teachers category in the IPEDS Data Center, with explanations.

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