Understanding NOC and Skill Types for Working in Canada

What is the National Occupational Classification (NOC)?

Canadians’ official system for classifying and defining professions is called the National Occupational Classification (NOC). When looking for information about careers available across Canada’s employment market, it may assist you in your search. In addition, several activities and services offered by Canada rely on the NOC. These include Canadian immigration and employment, work in Canada from abroad, job searches, and labor market information.

Published on October 12, 2021

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Two NOC Classifications

The NOC organizes occupations based on two factors: skill type and skill level. The first number of the NOC code typically identifies the Skill Type, while the second digit identifies the Skill Level. When discussing professions in immigration programs, it’s common to categorize them as either highly skilled or lowly skilled.

man working in construction
There are two types of NOC: Skill Type and Level

1. NOC Skill Types (Broad Occupational Category)

The broad occupational category is based on the kind of work done or the sector of activity. Also, it represents the area of training or experience that is usually needed for admission into a profession. So, for example, if you need experience inside a company, you’ll also need to know what field of study you need to complete your degree and your industry of work. All these sub-categories are meant to help people quickly understand various aspects of the working environment.

The NOC Skill Type can be found in the NOC code’s first digit.

NOC’s initial digit represents the following 10 broad occupational categories:

0 – Management occupations
1 – Business, finance and administration occupations
2 – Natural and applied sciences and related occupations
3 – Health occupations
4 – Occupations in education, law and social, community and government services
5 – Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport
6 – Sales and service occupations
7 – Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations
8 – Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations
9 – Occupations in manufacturing and utilities

2. NOC Skill Levels

Skill level is mainly determined by the training and education needed to work in a particular profession. However, compared to other occupations, this criteria also indicates how much experience is required to join the field and how complicated the duties are in work itself. 

In all jobs, the second digit of the NOC code denotes the degree of skill required; the second digit also reflects the broad occupational category or indicates that the job is deemed senior management level work (SML).

NOC’s second digit represents the following 4 skill level categories:

Careers that require university education.

Careers that require college education, specialized training or apprenticeship training.

Careers that require secondary education and/or occupation-specific training.

Careers that required on-the-job training.

How NOC is Used and Why is It Important?

1. NOC for Immigration to Canada

When applying for a job in Canada, this is where the NOC code comes into play. You must provide the NOC Code with your work experience upon submission of your application. This is necessary because some immigration streams only accept candidates who have worked in professions designated by particular NOC codes. This article will be decoding everything you must know about NOC and its importance towards working and immigrating to Canada. 🕵🏼

5 Main Job Groups for Immigration

Management jobs, include (but are not limited to):

  • Restaurant Managers
  • Mine Managers
  • Shore Captains (fishing)

Professional occupations requiring a university degree, include (but are not limited to):

  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Architects

Technical jobs that call for a college diploma or training as an apprentice, include (but are not limited to):

  • Chefs
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians

Intermediate jobs that usually call for high school and/or job-specific training, include (but are not limited to):

  • Industrial butchers
  • Long-haul truck drivers
  • Food and beverage servers

Labor jobs that usually give on-the-job training, include (but are not limited to):

  • Fruit Pickers
  • Cleaning Staff
  • Oil field workers

2. NOC for Job Search

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) organizes and describes professions in Canada. It can help you find information about jobs throughout Canada. The NOC is a job seeker’s most useful tool. You can use the NOC code to search for:

📄 Job Descriptions
🎓 Educational Background  Requirements
🎨 Requirements
🧳 Related Occupations

How to Find Your NOC Code?

You may discover your NOC code by browsing the government of Canada’s NOC page by industry or by keywords such as your job title. Ensure that the lead statement fits your work experience and that you execute most of the tasks and responsibilities specified under the NOC code.

Job responsibilities are critical since they must be included in your evidence of work experience. IRCC will compare your work responsibilities to the NOC job code. Focus on the lead (first paragraph) and the key responsibilities in the NOC job code.

Another alternative is the Canada Job Bank website. Find a job opportunity with responsibilities that match your current (or former) employment. The NOC code is found in the “Job Market Information” section of the job opening page.

Woman searching for her NOC
The NOC page can be found in the government of Canada's official website.

What to Do if I Cannot Find My NOC?

Assume you couldn’t find your job by looking for it by title. If that’s the case, you’ll have to manually search the government of Canada’s NOC database to find your job.

You can search for your NOC in the following ways:

🍁 Step 1: To begin, enter your job title in the “Quick Search” field.

🍁 Step 2: For the next step we suggest that you input a variety of keywords that are similar to your title or the tasks that you do in your occupation if you tried to search for it directly and got no results. The Quick Search field is where you’ll find this. For example, you’re trying to find the NOC for a Theatre Performing Artist and couldn’t find anything under the search results. So the next thing to do is try to find another title that applies to your present position.

🍁 Step 3: The final step is to choose your industry from the provided list. The Major Group should be your first stop after deciding on your industry, followed by the Subgroup associated with your profession after you’ve decided on your industry.  Finding at least two or three positions that are comparable to your present employment may be done by first finding the group that best matches your work.

Also, you can always reach out to immigration professionals or career advisors and ask for help. Here at CanadaCIS, we can help you find your NOC code, get a job in Canada and get your work permit. 

Learn more about jobs in Canada: