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The Dictionary of Occupational Titles, commonly known as the DOT (Pronounced Dee-Oh-Tee) was the creation of the U.S. Employment Service, which used its thousands of occupational definitions to match job seekers to jobs from 1939 to the late 1990s.

Before 1939, nationwide occupational information was not conveniently reported by the Employment Service. By 1939, it had become clear to the Employment service that a standardized volume of job definitions was needed for employment-related purposes. The Employment Service published revisions of the DOT periodically with the final publication in 1991.[1]

In a 1980 study, the National Research Council reviewed the DOT and the job analysis methology used to create it. The NRC concluded that the worker functions, including the strength demands, SVP, and GED variables were not based in then-current vocational theory. This problem was not corrected in the last edition (1991) of the DOT.



The NRC wrote of these worker functions:

"Rather, they are frozen in a now outmoded mold. Scales that more or less adequately reflected the state of the art of vocational trait measurement at midcentury are now outdated. This condition serves to underscore the urgency of adopting a new strategy in producing the DOT that includes as an intrinsic aspect continuous research and technical improvement of the document as a whole and of each of its components (NRC, 1980, p. 168).

In the introduction to the 1991 revised fourth edition of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, the Secretary of Labor, Lynn Martin, noted that "Since its inception, the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) has provided basic occupational information to many and varied users in both public and private sectors of the United States economy. This revised Fourth Edition of the DOT appears at a time when there is growing recognition of the need for lifetime learning, when rapid technological change is making the jobs of current workers more complex than they were even a few years ago, and when timely and accurate labor market information is an increasingly important component of personal and corporate decision-making."

In recognition of the NRC recommendations, the DOT approach was dropped by the U.S. Employment Service. The taxonomy of job classification that had evolved since the 1930s was abandoned and the Employment Service has adopted a modern empirically-based framework and methodology for obtaining and delivering occupational information known as O*Net. O*Net classifies jobs in job families, so it is less useful for determining disability eligibility or job-specific benefits analysis.

Although the DOT has been deemed obsolete and then abandoned by the Employment Service and the Department of Labor, the data from the 1991 revised fourth edition of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles is used extensively at the Social Security Administration in litigation related to applications for Social Security disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for adult claimants. The DOT is still used extensively for performing Transferable Skills Analysis with SSA claimants. Vocational Evaluators also use DOT data when working with injured workers who seek insurance settlements and/or vocational rehabilitation services. It is also relied upon in immigration adjudication within the United States. [2]

On December 9, 2008, the Social Security Administration announced the formation of an Occupational Information Development Advisory Panel under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The Social Security Administration explained: "Panel members will analyze the occupational information used by SSA in our disability programs and provide expert guidance as we develop an occupational information system (OIS) tailored for these programs. We plan to design the OIS to improve our disability policies and processes and to ensure up-to-date vocational evidence in our disability programs. We will select Panel members based primarily on their occupational expertise. This Panel will provide guidance on our plans and actions to replace the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and its companion volume, The Selected Characteristics of Occupations." [3] The Dictionary is noted for its work in providing job titles that avoid gender stereotyping. For example, a meter maid could be:
Meter Attendant 375.587-010, or
Parking-Meter-Coin Collector 292.687-010 [4]

See also

External links


  1. ^ *Social Security Disability Advocate's Handbook, by David Traver, James Publishing, 2008, ISBN 1-58012-033-4
  2. ^ *Selected Characteristics of Occupations, United States Department of Labor, Germania Publishing, 2008.
  3. ^ 73 Fed. Reg. 78864 (Dec. 23, 2008)
  4. ^


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