About the Map

The ACT World-of-Work Map is an empirically based system for summarizing and displaying basic similarities and differences between occupations. It is visual and interactive, designed to engage users in the process of career exploration.

Like any map, it needs compass points. All occupations can be organized according to their involvement with four types of basic work tasks, working with

  • Data: facts, records, numbers, business procedures
  • Ideas: abstractions, theories, insights, new ways of doing things
  • People: care, services, leadership, sales
  • Things: machines, materials, crops/animals

Usually one or two of these basic work tasks capture the primary nature of an occupation; for example, editors work mostly with people and ideas. These basic work tasks are the Map's compass points.

To help individuals navigate among hundreds of occupations, the World-of-Work Map organizes 555 occupations into 26 groups of similar occupations (career areas). The Map serves as a visual bridge, linking people (via career assessment results) to personally relevant occupations. Used together with the ACT Interest Inventory, the World-of-Work Map can help people see the connections between the work world and the activities they like to do.

Personalized ACT Interest Inventory results are provided on the ACT®, PLAN®, and EXPLORE® student score reports. Results are reported as regions of the World-of-Work Map, and each region contains one or more career areas. Users can follow up with career exploration using the World-of-Work Map found on all of ACT’s student websites (e.g., www.planstudent.org). The Map is interactive, permitting users to drill down to descriptions of specific occupations.

There are two versions of the Map—the student version and the counselor version.