Learn more about the six RIASEC occupational themes. Each description outlines one theme, but most people are a blend of two or three themes.

Click here to download and complete Holland's Occupational Themes questionnaire and find our your theme.


Realistic (R)

Realistic individuals are often active, stable and enjoy hands-on or manual activities such as repairing, building, mechanics, machinery operation and athletics. They often prefer to work with things rather than ideas and people. They enjoy engaging in physical activity and like being outdoors and working with plants and animals. People who fall into this theme generally prefer to “learn by doing” in a practical, task oriented setting, as opposed to spending extended periods of time in a classroom. They perceive themselves as skilled in mechanical and physical activities. The preferred work environment of the realistic type fosters technical competencies and work that allows them to produce tangible results. Typical realistic careers include those in the trades, athletics, military and protective services, working with animals and/or plants, and working outdoors.


Investigative (I)

Investigative individuals are often analytical, intellectual and observant, and enjoy research, mathematical or scientific activities. They are drawn to abstract challenges. People who fall into this theme enjoy using logic and solving highly complex problems. They place a high value on science and learning, and perceive themselves as scholarly and having scientific or mathematical ability. The preferred work environment of the investigative type encourages scientific competencies, allows independent work and focuses on solving abstract, complex problems in original ways. Typical investigative careers include medical technologist, biologist, chemist, systems analyst, scientist, mathematician, doctor and other medical professions.


Artistic (A)

Artistic individuals are often original, intuitive and imaginative, and enjoy creative activities such as composing or playing music, writing, drawing or painting, and acting in or directing stage productions. They seek opportunities for self-expression through artistic creation. People who fall into this category prefer flexibility and are comfortable with ambiguity, and have an aversion to convention and conformity. They value aesthetics, and view themselves as creative, non-conforming and as appreciating or possessing musical, dramatic, artistic or writing abilities. The preferred work environment of the artistic type fosters creative competencies and encourages originality and use of the imagination in a flexible, unstructured setting. Typical artistic careers include musician, reporter, graphic artist, decorator and culinary arts.


Social (S)

Social individuals are often humanistic, idealistic and concerned with the welfare of others. They enjoy helping, training, counseling or developing others. They are generally focused on human relationships and interpersonal dynamics. Social types seek opportunities to work as part of a team, solve problems through discussions and utilize interpersonal skills. Because they genuinely enjoy working with people, they communicate a warm and tactful manner. They view themselves as understanding, helpful and skilled in teaching. The preferred work environment of the social type encourages teamwork and allows for significant interaction with others. Typical social careers include teacher, counselor, social worker, minister, social scientist and human resources professional.


Enterprising (E)

Enterprising individuals are often energetic, ambitious, adventurous, sociable and self-confident. They enjoy activities that require them to persuade others, such as sales and marketing, and seek out leadership roles. They are invigorated by using their interpersonal, leadership and persuasive abilities to obtain organizational goals or economic gain. They are often effective public speakers and are generally sociable. They view themselves as assertive, self-confident and skilled in leadership and public speaking. The preferred work environment of the enterprising theme encourages them to engage in activities such as leadership, management and sales, politics, marketing and rewards them through the attainment of money, power and status. Typical enterprising careers include sales, marketing, politics and business.


Conventional (C)

Conventional individuals are often efficient, careful, organized and conscientious. They are comfortable working within an established chain of command and prefer carrying out well-defined instructions. They prefer organized, systematic activities and have an aversion to ambiguity. They are skilled in and often enjoy maintaining and manipulating data, organizing schedules and operating office equipment. They are thorough, persistent and reliable. Conventional types view themselves as responsible, orderly, efficient and possessing administrative, organizational and numerical abilities. The preferred work environment of the conventional theme fosters organizational competencies such as record keeping and data management in a structured operation. Typical conventional careers include administrative assistant, accountant, bookkeeper, copy editor, home/closet organizer, information technologist, health information specialist and office manager.