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Holland Codes

The Holland Codes or the Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC), refers to a theory of careers and vocational choice based upon personality types. The US Department of Labor ETA has been using the RIASEC model in the "Interests" section of its free online database, The Occupational Information Network (O*NET), since its inception during the late 1990s.[1][2][3]


The theoretical framework behind the Holland Codes was developed by psychologist John L. Holland.[4] Each letter or code stands for a particular "type": Realistic (Doers), Investigative (Thinkers), Artistic (Creators), Social (Helpers), Enterprising (Persuaders), and Conventional (Organizers)."[5][6][7] Professor John Johnson of Penn State suggested that an alternative way of categorizing the six types would be through ancient social roles: "hunters (Realistic), shamans (Investigative), artisans (Artistic), healers (Social), leaders (Enterprising), and lorekeepers (Conventional)."[8]

According to the Committee on Scientific Awards, Holland's "research shows that personalities seek out and flourish in career environments they fit and that jobs and career environments are classifiable by the personalities that flourish in them."[4] Holland also wrote of his theory that "the choice of a vocation is an expression of personality."[9] Furthermore, while Holland suggests that people can be "categorized as one of six types,"[10] he also argues that "a six-category scheme built on the assumption that there are only six kinds of people in the world is unacceptable on the strength of common sense alone. But a six category scheme that allows a simple ordering of a person's resemblance to each of the six models provides the possibility of 720 different personality patterns."[11]

List of types hexagon.gif
The Holland RIASEC hexagon

R: Doers (Realistic)

People who are "independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty […] no-nonsense, down-to-earth individuals […] physical, athletic, or mechanical." They prefer "things rather than ideas or people […] being outdoors, using tools, operating machines, interacting with animals, and working with their hands." They also value the "natural, concrete, and tangible."[12] Sample majors and careers include:

I: Thinkers (Investigative)

People who are "intellectual, introspective, […] inquisitive […] curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical." They prefer "tasks that are scholarly, scientific, technical, or medical [… and] activities that involve thought, observation, investigation, exploration, and discovery […] They like to solve problems, perform experiments, and conduct research."[12] Sample majors and careers include:

A: Creators (Artistic)

People who "are creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate […], expressive, unstructured, original, nonconforming, and innovative [… who] rely on feelings, imagination […], inspiration [and…who] are spontaneous and open-minded." They prefer to "work with ideas, abstractions, and concepts." They also enjoy work that is "literary, verbal, visual, and aesthetic" and excel in "art, music, dance, drawing, painting, sculpting, drafting, writing, drama, communicating, design, fashion."[12][15] Sample majors and careers include:

S: Helpers (Social)

People who "are kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly." They prefer tasks that involve "socializing, helping others, and teaching […] teamwork, social interaction, relationship building [… and] humanitarian, educational, philanthropic, interpersonal, and service-oriented."[12] Sample majors and careers include:

E: Persuaders (Enterprising)

People who "are adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident […], optimistic […], dominant, persuasive, and motivational." They prefer work that involves "leadership, business, politics, public speaking […], being in charge, taking risks, debating, and competing."[12] Sample majors and careers include:

C: Organizers (Conventional)

People who are "conscientious and conservative […] logical, efficient, orderly […], organized […], thorough, and detail-oriented." They are individuals who "value precision and accuracy." They excel in "practical tasks, quantitative measurements, and structured environments" and who "follow the rules." They prefer work that involves "accounting, statistics […], mathematics, numerical activities, and office settings.[12] Sample majors and careers include:


  1. ^ Replace with a database: O*NET replaces the Dictionary of Occupational Titles
  2. ^ Rounds, James, Patrick I. Armstrong, Hsin-Ya Liao, and Phil Lewis & David Rivkin. "Second Generation Occupational Interest Profiles for the O*NET System: Summary." The National Center for O*NET Development, June 2008.
  3. ^ O*NET OnLine: Interests
  4. ^ a b "Award for distinguished scientific applications of psychology: John L. Holland." American Psychologist, Vol 63(8), Nov 2008, 672–674.
  5. ^ Self Assessment: Career Interests (UC Berkeley)
  6. ^ New Hampshire Employment Security/New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau
  7. ^ Watertown High School:DISCOVERING YOUR INTERESTS
  8. ^ Selfless Service, Part II: Different Types of Seva
  9. ^ Holland, John. Making Vocational Choices: a theory of careers. (Prentice-Hall, 1973): 6.
  10. ^ Holland, John. Making Vocational Choices: a theory of careers. (Prentice-Hall, 1973): 2.
  11. ^ Holland, John. Making Vocational Choices: a theory of careers. (Prentice-Hall, 1973): 3.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Careers and Personality:Birmingham-Southern College Career Services
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Majors by Holland Code: University of Oaklahoma
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk Delaware Career Compass, State of Delaware
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq Career/Major Interest Game: Georgetown University Career Services
  16. ^ a b CPCC: Advertising & Graphic Design
  17. ^ a b Career Matching: Riverland Community College

See also

Further reading

External links

Occupational Information Network (O*NET): US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (free test and career matching):

Additional online tests (free):

College Majors (free):