SOC Efforts | ADHA - American Dental Hygienists Association

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SOC Efforts

ADHA Secures 2018 Revisions to the Standard Occupational Classification Document

Frequently asked questions about Standard Occupational Classification.

On behalf of the dental hygiene profession, ADHA provided comments to the Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee (SOCPC) for the revisions to the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC).

The SOC is a classification system used by federal statistical agencies to “classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data.” Information such as employment levels and projections, pay and benefits, skills required, and other demographics are widely used by the public, interested stakeholders and public policy-makers. The federal agencies that use SOC system include, but are not limited to, the Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor. All workers are classified into one of 867 detailed occupations according to their occupational definition. Occupations with similar job duties, and in some cases skills, education, and/or training, are grouped together in the SOC. The SOC has undergone four revisions beginning in 1980, and again in 2000, 2010 and the current 2018 revision. The next revision is currently contemplated for 2028.

The newly revised 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were released in November 2017 by the United States Office of Management and Budget. The revised SOC reflects many of the positive changes ADHA recommended. There is continued work to be done but we are pleased to see some gains in this area. Dental hygienists are newly classified as follows: 29-1000, Healthcare Diagnosing or Treating Practitioners”. Indeed, we are in the same grouping as dentists. This contrasts with the 2010 SOC, in which dental hygienists were classified under 29-2000 Health Technologists and Technicians.

The 2018 SOC for dental hygiene is as follows:
Administer oral hygiene care to patients. Assess patient oral hygiene problems or needs and maintain health records. Advise patients on oral health maintenance and disease prevention. May provide advanced care such as providing fluoride treatment or administering topical anesthesia.

Major Group: 29-0000 Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations; Broad Group: 29-1000 (The same as dentists); Miscellaneous Healthcare Diagnosing or Treating Practitioners Detailed Group: 29-1292 Dental Hygienists.

Source: https://www.bls.gov/soc/2018/soc_2018_definitions.pdf

ADHA’s 2016 Work with the Occupational Outlook Handbook Set the Stage for Ongoing Efforts with the U.S. Department of Labor

ADHA has long advocated for the upgrading of the civil service classification for dental hygienists. One step in that ongoing process is the 2016 review of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) which serves as a guideline for any such reclassification.

The OOH is a federal resource for career guidance featuring hundreds of occupations. Dental hygiene educators and students can utilize the OOH to learn more about the dental hygiene work environment and projected job outlook as well as to explore resources for employment and wages by state and area.

ADHA was able to secure an update to the OOH in the 2015-2016 comment period. This success set the stage ADHA’s ongoing work with the Department of Labor (DOL).

You can read more about ADHA’s work in these 2016 Access articles.