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The O*NET® Content Model

The Content Model is the conceptual foundation of O*NET. The Content Model provides a framework that identifies the most important types of information about work and integrates them into a theoretically and empirically sound system.

Worker Characteristics Worker Requirements Experience Requirements Occupational Requirements Labor Market Characteristics Occupation-Specific Information

The O*NET Content Model, with six major domains contributing to O*NET. See the domain descriptions below.

The Content Model was developed using research on job and organizational analysis. It embodies a view that reflects the character of occupations (via job-oriented descriptors) and people (via worker-oriented descriptors). The Content Model also allows occupational information to be applied across jobs, sectors, or industries (cross-occupational descriptors) and within occupations (occupational-specific descriptors). These descriptors are organized into six major domains, which enable the user to focus on areas of information that specify the key attributes and characteristics of workers and occupations.

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Content Model Outline — Summary (PDF - 361 KB)
Content Model Outline — Detailed (PDF - 371 KB)
Content Model Outline — Detailed including descriptions (PDF - 559 KB)
Content Model Outline (Excel format) (XLS - 150 KB)

Worker Characteristics — enduring characteristics that may influence both performance and the capacity to acquire knowledge and skills required for effective work performance. Worker characteristics comprise enduring qualities of individuals that may influence how they approach tasks and how they acquire work-relevant knowledges and skills. Traditionally, analyzing abilities has been the most common technique for comparing jobs in terms of these worker characteristics. However, recent research supports the inclusion of other types of worker characteristics. In particular, interests, values, and work styles have received support in the organizational literature. Interests and values reflect preferences for work environments and outcomes. Work style variables represent typical procedural differences in the way work is performed.

Expand Abilities — Enduring attributes of the individual that influence performance
Expand Occupational Interests — Preferences for work environments. Occupational Interest Profiles (OIPs) are compatible with Holland's (1985, 1997) model of personality types and work environments.
Expand Work Values — Global aspects of work composed of specific needs that are important to a person's satisfaction. Occupational Reinforcer Patterns (ORPs) are based on the Theory of Work Adjustment (Dawis & Lofquist, 1984).
Expand Work Styles — Personal characteristics that can affect how well someone performs a job.

Worker Requirements — descriptors referring to work-related attributes acquired and/or developed through experience and education. Worker requirements represent developed or acquired attributes of an individual that may be related to work performance such as work-related knowledge and skill. Knowledge represents the acquisition of facts and principles about a domain of information. Experience lays the foundation for establishing procedures to work with given knowledge. These procedures are more commonly known as skills. Skills may be further divided into basic skills and cross-functional skills. Basic skills, such as reading, facilitate the acquisition of new knowledge. Cross-functional skills, such as problem solving, extend across several domains of activities.

Expand Basic Skills — Developed capacities that facilitate learning or the more rapid acquisition of knowledge
Expand Cross-Functional Skills — Developed capacities that facilitate performance of activities that occur across jobs
Expand Knowledge — Organized sets of principles and facts applying in general domains
Expand Education — Prior educational experience required to perform in a job

Experience Requirements — requirements related to previous work activities and explicitly linked to certain types of work activities. This domain includes information about the typical experiential backgrounds of workers in an occupation or group of occupations including certification, licensure, and training data. For example, information about the professional or organizational certifications required for entry and advancement in an occupation, preferred education or training, and required apprenticeships will be documented by this part of the model.

Expand Experience and Training — If someone were being hired to perform this job, how much of the following would be required?
Expand Basic Skills - Entry Requirement — Entry requirement for developed capacities that facilitate learning or the more rapid acquisition of knowledge
Expand Cross-Functional Skills - Entry Requirement — Entry requirement for developed capacities that facilitate performance of activities that occur across jobs
Expand Licensing — Licenses, certificates, or registrations that are awarded to show that a job holder has gained certain skills. This includes requirements for obtaining these credentials, and the organization or agency requiring their possession.

Occupation-Specific Information — variables or other Content Model elements of selected or specific occupations. Occupation-specific information details a comprehensive set of elements that apply to a single occupation or a narrowly defined job family. This domain parallels other Content Model domains because it includes requirements such as work-related knowledge, skills, and tasks in addition to the machines, equipment, tools, software, and information technology workers may use in their workplace. Labor market information defined by the industry or occupation is also provided here. This domain is particularly important when developing specific applications of O*NET information. For example, it is necessary to refer to occupation-specific descriptive information to specify training, develop position descriptions, or redesign jobs.

Expand Title — Primary title and code used to identify a single occupation in the O*NET-SOC taxonomy
Expand Description — A statement of required or important duties performed by workers in an occupation in the O*NET-SOC taxonomy.
Expand Alternate Titles — Alternate or "lay titles" include related job titles and occupational titles gathered from job incumbents, occupational experts, government agencies, professional groups, customer input, employer job postings, and other occupational classification systems.
Expand Tasks — Occupation-Specific Tasks
Expand Tools and Technology — Machines, equipment, tools, software, and information technology workers may use for optimal functioning in a high performance workplace.

Workforce Characteristics — variables that define and describe the general characteristics of occupations that may influence occupational requirements. Organizations do not exist in isolation. They must operate within a broader social and economic structure. To be useful, an occupational classification system must incorporate global contextual characteristics. O*NET provides this information by linking descriptive occupational information to statistical labor market information. This includes compensation and wage data, employment outlook, and industry size information. Much of this information is collected outside of the O*NET program's immediate scope. Collaborative efforts with organizations such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, Career One Stop, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and the Employment and Training Administration facilitate these labor market information linkages.

Expand Labor Market Information — Current labor force characteristics of occupations
Expand Occupational Outlook — Future labor force characteristics of occupations

Occupational Requirements — a comprehensive set of variables or detailed elements that describe what various occupations require. This domain includes information about typical activities required across occupations. Task information is often too specific to describe an occupation or occupational group. The O*NET approach is to identify generalized work activities (GWAs) and detailed work activities (DWAs) to summarize the broad and more specific types of job behaviors and tasks that may be performed within multiple occupations. Using this framework makes it possible to use a single set of descriptors to describe many occupations. Contextual variables such as the physical, social, or structural context of work that may impose specific demands on the worker or activities are also included in this section.

(Outline View | Description View)
Collapse Generalized Work Activities — Work activities that are common across a very large number of occupations. They are performed in almost all job families and industries.
  •  Information Input — Where and how are the information and data gained that are needed to perform this job?
    •  Looking for and Receiving Job-Related Information — How is information obtained to perform this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramGetting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramMonitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
    •  Identify and Evaluating Job-Relevant Information — How is information interpreted to perform this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramIdentifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramInspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramEstimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  •  Mental Processes — What processing, planning, problem-solving, decision-making, and innovating activities are performed with job-relevant information?
    •  Information and Data Processing — How is information processed to perform this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramJudging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramProcessing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramEvaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramAnalyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
    •  Reasoning and Decision Making — What decisions are made and problems solved in performing this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramMaking Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramThinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramUpdating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramDeveloping Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramScheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramOrganizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  •  Work Output — What physical activities are performed, what equipment and vehicles are operated/controlled, and what complex/technical activities are accomplished as job outputs?
    •  Performing Physical and Manual Work Activities — What activities using the body and hands are done to perform this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramPerforming General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramHandling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramControlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramOperating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
    •  Performing Complex and Technical Activities — What skilled activities using coordinated movements are done to perform this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramInteracting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramDrafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramRepairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramRepairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramDocumenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  •  Interacting With Others — What interactions with other persons or supervisory activities occur while performing this job?
    •  Communicating and Interacting — What interactions with other people occur while performing this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramInterpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramCommunicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramCommunicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramEstablishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramAssisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramSelling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramResolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramPerforming for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
    •  Coordinating, Developing, Managing, and Advising — What coordinating, managerial, or advisory activities are done while performing this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramCoordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramDeveloping and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramTraining and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramGuiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramCoaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramProvide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
    •  Administering — What administrative, staffing, monitoring, or controlling activities are done while performing this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramPerforming Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramStaffing Organizational Units — Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramMonitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
Expand Intermediate Work Activities — Work activities that are common across many occupations. They are performed in many job families and industries.
Expand Detailed Work Activities — Specific work activities that are performed across a small to moderate number of occupations within a job family.
Expand Organizational Context — Characteristics of the organization that influence how people do their work
Expand Work Context — Physical and social factors that influence the nature of work

Primary occupational information source for Content Model items:

O*NET Data Collection Program U.S. Department of Labor
O*NET Data Collection Program

Supplemental sources of information:

Bureau of Labor Statistics U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics external site
CareerOneStop U.S. Department of Labor
CareerOneStop external site
Office of Apprenticeship U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Apprenticeship external site
Classification of Instructional Programs U.S. Department of Education
Classification of Instructional Programs external site

Other indicators:

Data not currently available Data not currently available