The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is the United States Department of Labor’s online successor to the Dictionary of Occupation Titles (DOT). The O*NET is intended to provide a reference responsive to the rapidly changing world of work. The O*NET is an ever-evolving resource due to ongoing data collection efforts intended to expand its information coverage and regular updates to ensure an accurate reflection of the current economy and labor market. Consequently, information available online may differ according to date of access.
Unlike the DOT, which focused on very careful descriptions of specific job titles, the O*NET organizes information to facilitate identification of commonalities across jobs. The Crosswalk system allows users to reference occupational information across several classification systems. Within the O*NET, occupations are organized using the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system, which clusters similar jobs. Consequently, for a given job some descriptions may be less precise than in the DOT, as the descriptions reflect an entire SOC cluster, not just that specific job.
The O*NET classifies occupations along the major dimensions of vocational interests, work values, and ability requirements. Drawing upon major person-environment fit models, the O*NET characterizes vocational interests using Holland’s theory of vocational personalities and work environments and work values using the theory of work adjustment. This organization was directly influenced by the counseling model used by the Vocational Assessment Clinic at the University of Minnesota, a model intended to operationalize the most important elements of the theory of work adjustment.
The O*NET database is intended to be a comprehensive source of descriptors for the occupations (approximately 950) considered most important to the United States economy. These descriptors include ratings of importance, level, frequency, or extent for the following variables: skills, abilities, knowledge, tasks, work activities, work context, experience levels required, job interests, and work values-needs. The methods used to generate these descriptors include expert judgments, field observations, and worker self-report. Although the database is of great interest to researchers, average information seekers would find it very difficult to access.
The O*NET OnLine is a Web-based viewer intended to provide access to O*NET information for a broad range of users (from students and job seekers to human resource professionals). Its uses include finding and exploring occupations, searching for occupations that use designated skills, viewing occupation summaries and details, cross-referencing other occupational classification systems, identifying related occupations, and linking with other online resources, such as current wage and employment outlook information.
O*NET Career Exploration Tools
The O*NET Career Exploration Tools are a set of assessment tools intended to facilitate career exploration by helping individuals to identify their vocational interests, work values, and abilities. The Career Exploration Tools include the O*NETInterest Profiler the O*NET Work Importance Locator, the Work Importance Profiler, and the O*NETAbility Profiler.
- Eggerth, D. E., Bowles, S. M., Tunick, R. H., & Andrew, M. E. (2005). Convergent validity of O*NET Holland code classifications. Journal of Career Assessment, 13(2), 150-168.
- U.S. Department of Commerce. (2000). Standard occupational classification system manual. Lanham, MD: Bernan Associates.
- U.S. Department of Labor. (1991). Dictionary of occupational titles (4th ed.). Indianapolis, IN: JIST Works.