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FY 2007 Information Quality Correction Requests      

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Identification Number: 1-07

Title: 2006-07 Occupational Outlook Handbook

Agency Receiving Correction Request: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Date Received: March 07, 2007

Information Quality Correction Request: The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy wrote: While virtually all States license both Marriage and Family Therapists and Counselors, in all cases the two professions’ licensure standards are distinct and different. Further, the two professions are differentiated in applicable federal laws, in their separate academic-preparation (graduate degree) programs, and in the treatment afforded each profession by public and private third-party payers for health and other services. As a result, the academic preparations, licensure standards and other legal requirements, and income potentials of the two professions are distinctly different. Because the Handbook aggregates Marriage and Family Therapists with Counselors, this error could easily mislead the public, resulting in fewer students selecting Marriage and Family Therapy as a profession. This in turn could result in a loss to the public due to the lesser availability of relevant professionals to treat mental health and substance abuse disorders, as well as a loss of income to persons who become Counselors based on the erroneous premise that the Counseling profession is identical or equivalent to the Marriage and Family Therapy profession.

Because the Handbook’s current aggregation of Marriage and Family Therapists with Counselors is erroneous as detailed above, the Bureau of Labor Statistics should create a separate classification for Marriage and Family Therapists in all subsequent editions of the Handbook.

Resolution:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), like other Federal statistical agencies, adheres to the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The use of the SOC system, which is mandated by the Office of Management and Budget, promotes consistency and comparability in the occupational data and information produced throughout the Federal statistical system. The organization of the Occupational Outlook Handbook reflects the structure of the current SOC. The SOC system is currently under revision. A proposed structure with revised titles will be published in the Federal Register within the next few months for public comment.

Preparation of the 2008-2009 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook is nearing completion, limiting our ability to make substantial revisions. However, based on your concerns about the different training and certification requirements for marriage and family therapists, some modifications will be made to the statement on Counselors in the 2008-09 edition in order to better distinguish the counseling occupations. With your permission, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy will be added as a Source of Additional Information. Finally, we would appreciate a final review of the statement by your organization after we incorporate these changes and prior to publication. Although we are not able to make significant adjustments in the upcoming Handbook, more substantive changes are under consideration for the next (2010-11) edition. We are considering organizing the six detailed occupations discussed in Counselors into several separate statements.

I hope the changes outlined above address your concerns. However, if they do not, this decision may be appealed within 45 days of receipt of this letter.

This request was closed on May 2, 2007.