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What is an NOC code?


The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s national system of organizing and describing occupations. It can help you locate information about occupations found throughout Canada’s job market.

The NOC is a useful tool for job seekers. You can use it to research:

  • job descriptions
  • educational requirements
  • required skills
  • related occupations

The NOC is often used by employers to help them write job descriptions and identify skill requirements for new job postings.

The NOC is also used by many government agencies (including Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) to identify skills shortages in the Canadian job market.

The NOC is updated every 5 years by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Statistics Canada. The most current version of the NOC is at:

How is the NOC Organized?

The NOC can seem confusing if you are not familiar with it. Basically, it is a tool that is used to classify occupations according to their skill level and skill type.

Every occupation is identified by a four-number code, called the NOC code. Each number represents a different trait, which describes the type of industry, and the education and skills required.

Major Groups

The first number of the NOC Code indicates the skill type. ESDC has divided all occupations in Canada into 10 different skill types:

NOC skill types

Source: NOC Training | Broad Occupational Category

The second number identifies the occupation’s skill level. Combined, these two digits define the NOC “Major Group” for all occupations with the same skill level and skill type.

Second number

NOC skill levels

Source: NOC Training | Skill Level

Minor and Unit Groups

The third number further divides the major groups into 140 occupational categories. These are called “Minor Groups.”

Finally, the fourth number represents the “Unit Group.” There are 500 unit groups which include numerous job titles.

NOC example

How to select the correct NOC code

To figure out the NOC code for your occupation you can use:

NOC for Immigration

Note: If you need to select your NOC code for immigration purposes, you may want to consult with an immigration professional to make sure you use the correct code. The sites below can help you get started.

NOC for Job Searching

Knowing the NOC code for your occupation before doing a job search can make searching easier and faster. Government job boards such as Job Bank and WorkBC organize job postings by the NOC code, so if you know the NOC code you can easily search for all jobs under that code.

If an employer includes a NOC number in a job posting, you are able to check the job description that will list special requirements for experience or education. The NOC also lists any related professions that require the same skills.


  • Even though NOC is a standardised system, many private companies are unfamiliar with NOC and may describe a job title differently than the NOC.

Additional Resources

  • NOC Tutorial
    Helps explain the how the NOC is organized and includes a quiz to test your understanding
  • NOC Career Handbook
    The Career Handbook is the counselling component of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. It includes information such as the aptitudes and interests best suited for each occupation, working conditions, workplaces and types of employers, and other details.