A Beginner’s Guide to the NOC

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The NOC is an important tool for job seekers and employers in Canada and for potential immigrants. 

What’s the NOC?

In short, the National Occupation Code (NOC) is the Canadian government’s way of categorizing the different jobs and skills. The site may provide insight into the question, “What kind of job can I get in Canada?”

It’s a very advanced tool because when you type in a job title, the system will present a number of different related jobs to what you had input thus widening your options. It also works as a planning tool; if you’re interested in a certain job, you can look it up and see what the required skills or educational levels are. 

The NOC separates two categories: skill types and skill level. Skill type is labeled numerically from 0 to 9. This is by no means an indication of ranking of greatest to least; it’s just the way they have decided to divide the occupational skill types. 

Skill TypesOccupation Type
1Business, administration, finance
2Applied sciences
4Education, social services, government, law
5Art, sport, culture
6Sales, customer service
7Trades, transport
8Agriculture, natural resources
9Manufacturing, utilities

On the other hand, skill level uses the letters A to D, meaning that more education is required in level A than level D jobs. For example, engineers are A level jobs while kitchen helpers are D level. 

Skill levelNature of Education/Training
AUniversity Level: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
BCollege/Vocational training: community college, CEGEP
CSecondary school education or hand-on training: high school, certificate
DNo formal requirements: short work demonstration, on-the-job training

The NOC is also closely linked to the Job Bank of Canada. After you find the correct NOC, you can look for your job title in the Job Bank and see how much Canada needs it or where it’s needed the most. 

How to Get an NOC

It’s important to remember that the NOC is not really obtained or applied for like a SIN or health insurance. The NOC is simply a classification and a string of numbers. Practically everyone can check out the website and see the status of their current or future career in Canada. The disadvantage of the NOC is that it might describe your job title differently to what you experience. If this is the case, it would be a good option to contact an immigration professional. Your current occupation may be mixed in with others.

Other than that, getting your NOC is a breeze and you might find yourself exploring jobs that you never knew existed.

Why NOC is Important for Immigrants

The NOC is part of a bigger picture. You’ll need it in your application along with many other documents, but it may give you the upper hand if you apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program, also referred to as Express Entry. Before even beginning the application process, your job has to be a skill type 0 or a skill level B or higher. Understanding the NOC for your occupation can clear up some confusion in the immigration process and can save you some time. If your skills and work experience match that of Canada’s, then you have a better chance of getting approved. 

The job market is a lot bigger than most of us give it credit for. Canada is in need of workers of all skill levels across the country.

Sources: What is NOC About the NOC Canadian Work Experience Find NOC Express Entry Eligibility

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