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Coding Assistance

Step 1: Understanding the Occupational Code Assignment (OCA) Process
Step 2: Understanding the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Guidelines
Step 3: Submit OCA Form - Part A

Understanding the Occupational Code Assignment (OCA) Process

What is an occupational code assignment?

An occupational code assignment (OCA) is a process established to help occupational information users relate a job title or occupational specialty to an O*NET-SOC occupation. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is a Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) based system. Businesses, training and educational institutions, labor and occupational organizations, and professional associations can use the OCA process to determine if a job title or occupational specialty is recognized within the O*NET-SOC system and the U.S. labor market.

The information gathered during the OCA process:

  1. leads to code assignments for customers,
  2. helps update the O*NET lay titles database, and
  3. is considered during the O*NET-SOC occupational classification review and development.

What is the O*NET-SOC System?

The O*NET-SOC system organizes the work done in our nation into approximately 1000 occupational categories. These occupations have associated data on the importance and level of a range of occupational characteristics, including Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Tasks, and General Work Activities. All of this occupational information has been compiled into a database and is available as a free, downloadable file at Furthermore, an internet application of the database, referred to as O*NET OnLine, allows the database to be easily viewed and utilized for searches of occupational information.

The O*NET-SOC system is based on the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The Office of Management and Budget has mandated the use of this classification system for all federal agencies that collect and disseminate occupational information.

What is the importance of the occupational code assignment process?

After receiving a code and title assignment, you will be able to review detailed information on the occupation within the O*NET-SOC system and link to other sources of national, state, and local SOC-based occupational information. For instance, within O*NET OnLine, you can link to CareerOneStop external site, a resource that provides occupational employment and wage estimates.

If the job title you submit is new to the O*NET-SOC system and the analyst codes it to an existing occupation, we will add the title to the lay title file. This file is updated on a regularly scheduled basis and is one of the files used to facilitate occupational searches within both O*NET OnLine and O*NET Code Connector. Individuals may also see the submitted title, along with other related job and occupational titles, when reviewing O*NET occupational reports.

Submitting information to the OCA process, however, does not necessarily mean that the O*NET-SOC system will classify this information as a new O*NET-SOC code and title. Such a designation cannot be made based on a single identification of a new job title or occupational specialty. Rather, new O*NET-SOC codes and titles will be determined based on considerations of frequency and prevalence in multiple sources, including transactions analysis of entries into online job banks and other occupationally relevant websites.

How do I obtain an occupational code assignment?

Prior to obtaining an OCA, it is advisable to conduct a thorough search of O*NET Code Connector ( to determine if the occupational code and title you are seeking already exists within the O*NET-SOC system. The O*NET Code Connector was developed to assist workforce professionals in coding jobs. If you are unable to match your job title and information to an O*NET-SOC occupational code and title, you will benefit from using the OCA process.

To obtain an OCA, you must submit occupational information, via an OCA Form - Part A, to the National Center for O*NET Development. The submitted information will be reviewed by an occupational analyst. Upon analysis, the analyst will send you an OCA Form - Part B that will list and explain the code assignment.

What if I have further inquiries?

For further information on the O*NET-SOC system or to learn about other products or programs related to the O*NET Project, see the O*NET Resource Center at For specific questions on O*NET OnLine or the O*NET Code Connector, contact O*NET Customer Service (