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Holland Codes

John L. Holland's RIASEC hexagon of The Holland Codes.

The Holland Codes or the Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC) refers to a theory of careers and vocational choice (based upon personality types) that was initially developed by psychologist John L. Holland (1919-2008).[1] The US Department of Labor ETA has been using a version of 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.[2][3][4]


  • Background 1
  • List of types 2
    • R: Doers (Realistic) 2.1
    • I: Thinkers (Investigative) 2.2
    • A: Creators (Artistic) 2.3
    • S: Helpers (Social) 2.4
    • E: Persuaders (Enterprising) 2.5
    • C: Organizers (Conventional) 2.6
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


Holland made a career out of studying the world of work, pioneering the theory that if people were aware of their personality type or combination of types - realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising or conventional - then they would be happier workers.

—Amy Lunday[1]

In "The Holland Codes," a 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, John L. 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."[9] Holland also wrote of his theory that "the choice of a vocation is an expression of personality."[10] Furthermore, while Holland suggests that people can be "categorized as one of six types,"[11] 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."[12]

List of types

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."[13] 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."[13] 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 "[16] Sample majors and careers include:

  • Architect (with Realistic and Enterprising)[15]
  • Broadcast journalism (with Enterprising)[15]
  • Clergy (with Social and Enterprising)[15]
  • Chef (with Enterprising and Realistic)[15]
  • [16]
  • Dance (with Realistic)[14]
  • Fashion design (with Realistic and Enterprising)[15]
  • Fine Artist, Including Painter, Sculptor and Illustrator (with Realistic)[17]
  • Graphic designer (with Enterprising and Realistic)[15]
  • Interior design(with Realistic)[14]
  • Model (people) (with Realistic and Enterprising)[15]
  • Musician (with Enterprising and Realistic)[15]
  • Park Naturalist (with Social and Realistic)[15]
  • [16]
  • Public relations (with Enterprising)[15]
  • Photographer (with Realistic and Enterprising)[15]
  • [16]
  • Technical writer (with Investigative and Conventional)[15]
  • Trainer (business) (with Social and Conventional)[15]
  • Web design/Web Development Specialist (with Realistic)[19]

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."[13] Sample majors and careers include:

  • Archivist/Librarian (with Conventional and Investigative)[15]
  • Clergy (with Artistic and Enterprising)[15]
  • [16]
  • [16]
  • Customer service (with Conventional and Enterprising)[15]
  • Dentist (with Investigative and Realistic)[15]
  • Dietitian (with Investigative and Enterprising)[15]
  • Economics (with Investigative and Conventional)[14]
  • Education (Teacher/Counselor/Administration)
  • Educational administration (with Enterprising and Conventional)[15]
  • Firefighter (with Realistic and Enterprising)[15]
  • Fitness Trainer and Aerobics Teacher (with Enterprising and Realistic)[15]
  • Human Resources (with Conventional and Enterprising)[15]
  • Lawyer (with Investigative and Enterprising)[14][15]
  • Nurse (with Realistic, Conventional, and Investigative)[15][16]
  • Park Naturalist (with Realistic and Artistic)[15]
  • Pharmacist (with Investigative and Conventional),[15]
  • Physical therapy (with Realistic and Investigative)[15]
  • Physician ([16]
  • [16]
  • [16]
  • Sociology[16]
  • Social Work[15]
  • Surgeon (with Realistic and Investigative)[15]
  • [16]
  • Trainer (business) (with Artistic and Conventional)[15]
  • Veterinarian (with Investigative and Realistic)[15]

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."[13] Sample majors and careers include:

  • [16]
  • Architect (with Artistic and Realistic)[15]
  • Business[16]
  • [16]
  • Chef(with Realistic and Artistic)[15]
  • Clergy (with Artistic and Social)[15]
  • Customer service (with Conventional and Social)[15]
  • Dietitian (with Social and Investigative)[15]
  • Educational administration (with Social and Conventional)[15]
  • Entrepreneur[16]
  • Fashion design (with Artistic and Realistic)[15]
  • Finance (with Conventional and Investigative)[15][16]
  • Firefighter (with Social and Realistic)[15]
  • Fitness Trainer and Aerobics Teacher (with Realistic and Social)[15]
  • [16]
  • Graphic designer (with Artistic and Realistic)[15]
  • Human Resources (with Conventional and Social)[15]
  • Broadcast journalism (with Artistic)[15]
  • Lawyer (with Investigative and Social)[14][15]
  • Management/[16]
  • [16]
  • Model (people) (with Artistic and Realistic)[15]
  • Musician (with Artistic and Realistic)[15]
  • Photographer (with Artistic and Realistic)[15]
  • Public relations (with Enterprising)[15]
  • Real Estate (with Conventional)[15][16]

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.[13] Sample majors and careers include:

  • [16]
  • [16]
  • Archivist/Librarian (with Social and Investigative)[15]
  • Carpenter (with Realistic and Investigative)[15]
  • Chemistry/Chemist (with Investigative and Realistic)[15]
  • [16]
  • Customer service (with Enterprising and Social)[15]
  • Economics (with Investigative and Social)[14]
  • Educational administration (with Social and Enterprising)[15]
  • Engineer (with Investigative and Realistic)[15][16]
  • Finance (with Enterprising and Investigative)[15][16]
  • Human Resources (with Enterprising and Social)[15]
  • [16]
  • Nurse (with Realistic, Social, and Investigative)[15][16]
  • Pharmacist (with Social and Investigative),[15]
  • Real Estate (with Enterprising)[15][16]
  • Technical writer (with Artistic and Investigative)[15]
  • Trainer (business) (with Social and Artisticl)[15]

See also


  1. ^ a b JOHN L. HOLLAND, 1919-2008 A SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY ADDED TO THE TRIBUTE & OBITUARY: "Obituary: John Holland, 89, Studies Personalities in Workplace," by Amy Lunday
  2. ^ Replace with a database: O*NET replaces the Dictionary of Occupational Titles
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ O*NET OnLine: Interests
  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. ^ "Award for distinguished scientific applications of psychology: John L. Holland." American Psychologist, Vol 63(8), Nov 2008, 672–674.
  10. ^ Holland, John. Making Vocational Choices: a theory of careers. (Prentice-Hall, 1973): 6.
  11. ^ Holland, John. Making Vocational Choices: a theory of careers. (Prentice-Hall, 1973): 2.
  12. ^ Holland, John. Making Vocational Choices: a theory of careers. (Prentice-Hall, 1973): 3.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Careers and Personality:Birmingham-Southern College Career Services
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Majors by Holland Code: University of Oaklahoma
  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 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 [2]Delaware Career Compass, State of Delaware]
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ a b CPCC: Advertising & Graphic Design
  18. ^ a b Academic majors and the Holland Codes
  19. ^ a b Career Matching: Riverland Community College

Further reading

  • Holland, John L. Making vocational choices: a theory of careers. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1973.
  • Luckerson, Victor. "What Type of Worker Are You? Your Next Boss May Want to Know: Employees who are interested in their jobs perform better than their disinterested peers. So how do hiring managers go about finding the legitimately interested and passionate?." Time, July 6, 2012.
  • Mariana, Matthew. "Replace with a database: O*NET replaces the Dictionary of Occupational Titles." Occupational Outlook Quarterly Online, Spring 1999 Vol. 43, Number 1.
  • 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.
  • Gottfredson, Linda S. (1980). "Construct validity of Holland's occupational typology in terms of prestige, census, Department of Labor, and other classification systems." (PDF). Journal of Applied Psychology 65 (6): 697–714.  

External links

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

  • O*NET Interest Profiler (Holland Codes Quiz)
  • O*NET Holland Codes Interests Matched to Careers

Additional online tests (free):

College Majors (free):

  • Four Year College:
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