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About O*NET

The O*NET Program is the nation's primary source of occupational information. Valid data are essential to understanding the rapidly changing nature of work and how it impacts the workforce and U.S. economy. From this information, applications are developed to facilitate the development and maintenance of a skilled workforce.

Central to the project is the O*NET database, containing hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors on almost 1,000 occupations covering the entire U.S. economy. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated from input by a broad range of workers in each occupation.

O*NET information is used by millions of individuals every year, including those taking advantage of O*NET Online, My Next Move, and other publicly and privately developed applications. The data have proven vital in helping people find the training and jobs they need, and employers the skilled workers necessary to be competitive in the marketplace.

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is developed under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Learn more about the O*NET project partners.

About O*NET Data O*NET Applications Starting Points
 

Content Model Anatomy of an occupation

Every occupation requires a different mix of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and is performed using a variety of activities and tasks. These distinguishing characteristics of an occupation are described by the O*NET Content Model,
Explore the interactive Content Model to see the range of occupational descriptors in the O*NET database.
which defines the key features of an occupation as a standardized, measurable set of variables called "descriptors". This hierarchical model starts with six domains, describing the day-to-day aspects of the job and the qualifications and interests of the typical worker. The model expands to 277 descriptors collected by the O*NET program, with more collected by other federal agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics external site.

O*NET-SOC Taxonomy A spectrum of occupations

While the Content Model defines the information structure for a single occupation, the O*NET-SOC taxonomy defines the set of occupations across the world of work. Based on the Standard Occupational Classification external site, the O*NET-SOC taxonomy currently includes 974 occupations which currently have, or are scheduled to have, data collected from job incumbents or occupation experts. To keep up with the changing occupational landscape, the taxonomy is periodically revised; the last revision was in 2010.

Data Collection Real-world information

The O*NET-SOC taxonomy defines the occupations, and the Content Model outlines which information is collected; the Data Collection program brings these frameworks to life with results from the working public.
For more about the data collection, view sample questionnaires based on the O*NET surveys, or visit RTI's O*NET site external site for information from the survey conductors.
The O*NET database was initially populated by data collected from occupation analysts; this information is updated by ongoing surveys of each occupation's worker population and occupation experts. This data is incorporated into new versions of the database on an annual schedule, to provide up-to-date information on occupations as they evolve over time. The latest database releases are available from the Developer's Corner.