Skip navigation

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.

Download:
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.

Expand 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.
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
(Outline View | Description View)
Collapse Work Context — Physical and social factors that influence the nature of work
  •  Interpersonal Relationships — This category describes the context of the job in terms of human interaction processes
    •  Communication — Types and frequency of interactions with other people that are required as part of this job.
      •  Communication Methods — How frequently does this job require the use of the following communication methods?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramPublic Speaking — How often do you have to perform public speaking in this job?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramTelephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramElectronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramLetters and Memos — How often does the job require written letters and memos?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramFace-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramContact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
    •  Role Relationships — Importance of different types of interactions with others both inside and outside the organization
      •  Job Interactions — How important are interactions requiring the worker to:
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramWork With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramDeal With External Customers — How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramCoordinate or Lead Others — How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
    •  Responsibility for Others — Amount of responsibility the worker has for other workers as a part of this job
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramResponsible for Others' Health and Safety — How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramResponsibility for Outcomes and Results — How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
    •  Conflictual Contact — Amount of conflict that the worker will encounter as part of this job
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramFrequency of Conflict Situations — How often are there conflict situations the employee has to face in this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramDeal With Unpleasant or Angry People — How frequently does the worker have to deal with unpleasant, angry, or discourteous individuals as part of the job requirements?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramDeal With Physically Aggressive People — How frequently does this job require the worker to deal with physical aggression of violent individuals?
  •  Physical Work Conditions — This category describes the work context as it relates to the interactions between the worker and the physical job environment
    •  Work Setting — Description of physical surroundings that the worker will face as part of this job
      •  Frequency Required to Work: — How frequently does this job require the worker to work:
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramIndoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramIndoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in non-controlled environmental conditions (e.g., warehouse without heat)?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramOutdoors, Exposed to Weather — How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramOutdoors, Under Cover — How often does this job require working outdoors, under cover (e.g., structure with roof but no walls)?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramIn an Open Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in an open vehicle or equipment (e.g., tractor)?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramIn an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramPhysical Proximity — To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
    •  Environmental Conditions — Description of extreme environmental conditions the worker will be placed in as part of this job
      •  Frequency in Environmental Conditions — How often during a usual work period is the worker exposed to the following conditions:
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramSounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramVery Hot or Cold Temperatures — How often does this job require working in very hot (above 90 F degrees) or very cold (below 32 F degrees) temperatures?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramExtremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — How often does this job require working in extremely bright or inadequate lighting conditions?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramExposed to Contaminants — How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramCramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — How often does this job require working in cramped work spaces that requires getting into awkward positions?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramExposed to Whole Body Vibration — How often does this job require exposure to whole body vibration (e.g., operate a jackhammer)?
    •  Job Hazards — Descriptions of types of hazardous conditions the worker could be exposed to as part of this job. This includes the frequency of exposure, and the likelihood and degree of injury if exposed.
      •  Frequency of Exposure to Job Hazards — How often does this job require the worker to be exposed to the following hazards?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramExposed to Radiation — How often does this job require exposure to radiation?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramExposed to Disease or Infections — How often does this job require exposure to disease/infections?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramExposed to High Places — How often does this job require exposure to high places?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramExposed to Hazardous Conditions — How often does this job require exposure to hazardous conditions?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramExposed to Hazardous Equipment — How often does this job require exposure to hazardous equipment?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramExposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — How often does this job require exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings?
      • No sourceLikelihood of Injury From Job Hazards — What is the likelihood that the worker would be injured as a result of being exposed to the following hazards while performing this job?
      • No sourceDegree of Injury — If injury, due to exposure to the following hazards, were to occur while performing this job, how serious would be the likely outcome?
    •  Body Positioning — Amount of time the worker will spend in a variety of physical positions on this job
      •  Time Spent in Body Positions — How much time in a usual work period does the worker spend:
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramSpend Time Sitting — How much does this job require sitting?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramSpend Time Standing — How much does this job require standing?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramSpend Time Climbing Ladders, Scaffolds, or Poles — How much does this job require climbing ladders, scaffolds, or poles?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramSpend Time Walking and Running — How much does this job require walking and running?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramSpend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling — How much does this job require kneeling, crouching, stooping or crawling?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramSpend Time Keeping or Regaining Balance — How much does this job require keeping or regaining your balance?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramSpend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramSpend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — How much does this job require bending or twisting your body?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramSpend Time Making Repetitive Motions — How much does this job require making repetitive motions?
    •  Work Attire — Dress requirements of this job
      •  Frequency of Wearing Work Attire — How often does the worker wear:
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramWear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramWear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — How much does this job require wearing specialized protective or safety equipment such as breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suits, or radiation protection?
  •  Structural Job Characteristics — This category involves the relationships or interactions between the worker and the structural characteristics of the job
    •  Criticality of Position — Amount of impact the worker has on final products and their outcomes
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramConsequence of Error — How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
      •  Impact of Decisions — The frequency and nature of the impact of worker's decisions on the organization
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramImpact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
        • O*NET Data Collection ProgramFrequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramFreedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
    •  Routine versus Challenging Work — The relative amounts of routine versus challenging work the worker will perform as part of this job
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramDegree of Automation — How automated is the job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramImportance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramImportance of Repeating Same Tasks — How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramStructured versus Unstructured Work — To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
    •  Competition — Amount of competition that the worker will face as part of this job
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramLevel of Competition — To what extent does this job require the worker to compete or to be aware of competitive pressures?
    •  Pace and Scheduling — Description of the role that time plays in the way the worker performs the tasks required by this job
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramTime Pressure — How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramPace Determined by Speed of Equipment — How important is it to this job that the pace is determined by the speed of equipment or machinery? (This does not refer to keeping busy at all times on this job.)
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramWork Schedules — How regular are the work schedules for this job?
      • O*NET Data Collection ProgramDuration of Typical Work Week — Number of hours typically worked in one week.

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