The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is a system for describing the
occupations of Canadians. It gives statisticians, labour market analysts, career counsellors, employers and individual job seekers a
standardized way of describing and understanding the nature of work. The system includes a series of publications that help these people
to organize and use statistics and other labour market facts.
This tutorial is a companion to
these publications and a training resource for anyone who is using or intends to use the NOC. By the end of this training, you will be
- understand the structure and components of the NOC
understand the importance and
applications of the NOC
- properly classify occupations according to the NOC
In order to
complete this training you will need to have access to the NOC Occupational Descriptions, the NOC Matrix and the
either in hardcopy format or via the Internet at:
The structure of this tutorial is based on a progressive
learning format. We will first look at the origin of the NOC, its importance and its uses and examine the structure of the NOC. You will
learn the meaning of the digits of NOC codes and how they relate directly to the structure. By the end of this training you will know
how to use the NOC for looking up occupational titles, finding occupational descriptions, for coding purposes and for other
Let us start by understanding the origin of the NOC and its significance in
The NOC was
implemented in 1992 as a replacement for the Canadian Classification and Dictionary of Occupations (CCDO). It was created through
an extensive program of research, collecting information from employers, workers, educators and associations. Analyses and consultations
were also conducted with providers and users of labour market data across the country. Human Resources and Skill Development Canada (HRSDC)
worked closely with Statistics Canada to ensure strong links between the NOC and Statistics Canada's
(SOC), for the collection and use of labour market data.
training guide introduces the revised editions of the NOC. The NOC 2001 replaced the original publication and the parallel 1991 SOC
produced by Statistics Canada. The revised SOC is now entitled the National Occupational Classification for Statistics (NOC-S).
The NOC 2001 and the NOC-S fill the gaps that were identified as shortcomings of the 1992 NOC. These included a missing technical level
for information technology occupations, inconsistencies in relation to the statistical structure and the challenges in capturing the
emergence of new work methods and new titles used in the labour market. The NOC 2001, while conservative with respect to structural
change, reflected the evolution of occupations over the past decade in Canada.
The NOC is updated on a
regular basis through an ongoing program of research. This results in updates or revisions which coincide with Census cycles. The NOC
has been updated for Census 2006 in collaboration with Statistics Canada. This was a minor update and is available online only (with the
possibility of an update insert or addendum which will be available upon request). Research continues for the 20th anniversary of the
NOC, which will result in the release of the revised NOC for Census 2011. Structural changes and significant content revisions are
expected for this edition.
The goal of the NOC is to make it easier for users at all levels to achieve
a better understanding of the world of work. For this reason, there are two main NOC publications:
binder provides formal descriptions of 520 occupational groups. These descriptions are identified by codes
and titles organized in a three-level numerical hierarchy.
The NOC ensures that labour market statistics are
collected and assembled in a standard way that will be meaningful to users. At the same time, the descriptions allow technical users,
such as economists and business analysts, to understand exactly what the statistics mean.
is the counselling version of the NOC. It links work performed in occupations with worker characteristics. This two-volume
set provides details of aptitudes and interests as well as physical activities and educational requirements for over 900 occupations,
along with information about potential workplaces in each. This resource is intended primarily for guidance and employment counsellors,
but individuals seeking to plan their own careers will also find it useful.
The second edition or 2003 release of
the Career Handbook is used in conjunction with the NOC 2001 structure to ensure proper concordance. A new, on-line only, edition
of the Career Handbook will be available for consistency with the NOC 2006 Update. Information on this release will be posted on
the Web site.
The NOC publications support a variety of career information resources published by the
Government of Canada and others. For example, Job Futures, the widely-used source of information about occupational outlooks, and the
national Job Bank, an electronic listing of jobs, work or business opportunities provided by Canadian employers are both organized
according to the structure of
the NOC. By providing a standard way of organizing labour market information, the
NOC helps all Canadians to be better informed about the world of work.
The NOC provides a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians. It is
used at all stages of the process from defining and collecting data, to managing information databases, to analyzing labour market
trends and extracting practical career planning information.
The hierarchical coding structure of the NOC is used in the collection of occupational information. For
example, economists and statisticians use the NOC to guide the collection and compilation of data. And, the Government of Canada uses
the NOC-S for the analysis of occupational data collected from the Census, Labour Force Survey and other surveys.
The NOC is also used for a variety of special surveys with respect to worker mobility, technological change,
administrative data and other indicators of labour market behaviour. In addition, provincial governments and private survey companies
use the NOC to ensure that the information they collect will be directly comparable to data they get from other sources.
Labour Market Analysis
researchers use the NOC to understand the underpinnings of the statistics they use, and more importantly, to interpret them correctly.
The NOC provides the context for the interpretation of statistical information. These users analyze the Canadian labour market to
understand emerging trends, to guide policy decisions and to develop systems for training, recruiting and job matching. National,
regional, and local labour market information can be accessed by visiting
Labour market analyses include work done within the government to set
policy and make the labour market work more efficiently. For example, the Federal Government uses this type of analysis to allocate
spending for labour market programs, to manage its systems for matching jobs with people and for immigration selection procedures.
Provincial and municipal governments have similar applications.
Career Planning and Job Seeking
Career developers, counsellors and students use the NOC and the
for career planning. An understanding of occupational definitions, requirements and opportunities is central to
their goal of matching the interests and aptitudes of individuals to the requirements and opportunities associated with occupations.
Job seekers, employment counsellors and employers rely on the NOC to make effective use of labour market
information services provided by the Federal Government and other sources. An important application is the national Job Bank, which is
accessible over the Internet and can be viewed at www.jobbank.gc.ca.
Exploring the NOC
nutshell, the NOC is a tool that is used to classify occupations according to their Skill Level and Skill Type. A four-digit code,
called the "NOC code", identifies the occupation. Each digit of this code reflects an important trait of the occupation it
Let's begin by looking at each digit and the significance it has with respect to the
Skill Type is based on the
type of work performed, but it also reflects the field of training or experience that is normally required for entry into the
occupation. This includes the educational area of study required, as well as the industry of employment in cases where experience within
an internal job ladder is required for entry. These categories are intended to indicate easily understood segments of the world of work.
The first digit of the NOC code normally designates the Skill Type (see chart below). For example,
Occupations Unique to Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities
start with the digit 9. Management Occupations, which are found
across all Skill Types, start with 0. Remember that an occupation that is coded with a first digit of 1 through 9 refers to the Skill
Type of that occupation. An occupation that has a 0 as the first digit indicates management.
NOC Skill Types
|1||Business, Finance and Administration Occupations |
|2||Natural and Applied Sciences and Related Occupations |
|4||Occupations in Social Science, Education, Government Service and Religion|
|5||Occupations in Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport|
|6||Sales and Service Occupations|
|7||Trades, Transport and Equipment Operators and Related Occupations |
|8||Occupations Unique to Primary Industry |
|9||Occupations Unique to Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities |
Let us look at each Skill Type in more detail.
0. Management Occupations
This Skill Type category contains legislators, senior management occupations and
middle and other management occupations. These occupations span all Skill Type categories.
Business, Finance and Administration Occupations
This category contains occupations that are concerned with
providing financial and business services, administrative and regulatory services and clerical supervision and support services. Some
occupations in this Skill Type are unique to the financial and business service sectors; however, most are found in all
2. Natural and Applied Sciences and Related Occupations
This category contains
professional and technical occupations in the sciences, including physical and life sciences, engineering, architecture and information
3. Health Occupations
This category includes occupations concerned with providing
health care services directly to patients and occupations that provide support to professional and technical health care staff.
4. Occupations in Social Science, Education, Government Service and Religion
This Skill Type
category includes occupations that are concerned with law, teaching, counselling, conducting social science research, developing
government policy, and administering government and other programs.
5. Occupations in Art,
Culture, Recreation and Sport
This Skill Type category includes professional and technical occupations related to art and culture,
including the performing arts, film and video, broadcasting, journalism, writing, creative design, libraries and museums. It also
includes occupations in recreation and sport.
6. Sales and Service Occupations
This Skill Type
category contains sales occupations, personal and protective service occupations and occupations related to the hospitality and tourism
7. Trades, Transport and Equipment Operators and Related Occupations
Skill Type category includes construction and mechanical trades, trades supervisors and contractors and operators of
transportation and heavy equipment. These occupations are found in a wide range of industrial sectors, with many occurring in the
construction and transportation industries.
This Skill Type includes most of the apprenticeable trades,
including all of those related to the construction industry. Other occupations in this category usually require completion of college or
other programs combined with on-the-job training. Progression to supervisory or self-employed contractor status is possible with
experience. There is limited mobility or transferability of skills among occupations in this category due to specific apprenticeship,
training and licensing requirements for most occupations.
8. Occupations Unique to Primary
This category contains supervisory and equipment operation occupations in the natural resource-based sectors of mining, oil
and gas production, forestry and logging, agriculture, horticulture and fishing. Most occupations in this category are industry specific
and do not occur outside of the primary industries.
9. Occupations Unique to Processing,
Manufacturing and Utilities
This category contains supervisory and production occupations in manufacturing, processing and
You now know how occupations are classified according to a work
domain that is called "Skill Type". We will now learn how the NOC further categorizes occupations according to different levels of skill
required within each Skill Type.
In the context of the NOC, Skill Level corresponds to the type and/or amount of training or education
typically required to work in an occupation. The NOC consists of four Skill Levels identified A through D and each is assigned a
numerical value ranging from 1 to 6. To illustrate this concept, have a look at the following chart to see the relationship between the
alphabetical value of each Skill Level and its accompanying numerical value.
Skill Level is primarily based
on the nature of education and training required to work in an occupation. This criterion also reflects the experience required for
entry and the complexity of the responsibilities involved in the work, compared with other occupations. In most cases, progression to
Skill Level A, from B, is not usually possible without completion of additional formal education, whereas progression from Skill Level D
to Skill Level C is often achievable through on-the-job training and experience.
Each Skill Level is
intended to reflect commonly accepted paths to employment in an occupation. Where there are several paths to employment, the Skill Level
most commonly identified by employers is used, considering the context of the occupation and the trends in hiring
For Trades, Transport and Equipment Operators and Related Occupations, Skill Level B
occupations may be coded with either a 2 or a 3. The reason for this is that there are more than 9 minor groups within the major group.
When there are more than 9 minor groups within a major group, the Skill Level digit is increased by one, but corresponds to the same
alphabetical character. The same applies for Skill Level C in Occupations Unique to Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities,
where the second digit can be either 4 or 5. We will discuss Major and Minor Groups in more detail shortly. For now, just understand
that the second digit of the NOC code represents the Skill Level of an occupation.
NOC Skill Types
Nature of Education/ Training
require university education.
| 1 ||
University degree at the bachelor's, master's or
Occupations usually require college or vocational education or
| 2 or 3 ||
Two to three years of post-secondary education
at a community college, institute of technology or CEGEP|
Two to five years of apprenticeship training
Three to four years of secondary school and more than two years of on-the-job training, specialized training courses
or specific work experience.
Occupations with supervisory responsibilities and occupations with significant health and safety
responsibilities, such as firefighters, police officers and registered nursing assistants are all assigned the Skill Level B.
Occupations usually require secondary school and/or occupation-specific
| 4 or 5 ||
One to four years of secondary school education
Up to two years of on-the-job training, specialized training courses or specific work experience.
On-the-job training is usually provided for occupations.
Short work demonstration or on-the-job training
No formal educational
Practice Quiz I
By now, you understand the importance and the practical nature of the NOC.
You also know the two basic concepts that make up the structure of the NOC -
Skill Type and Skill Level - and understand the purposes for each.
To facilitate your learning, try the online practice quiz.
This quiz is designed to help you identify areas of difficulty you may be
experiencing with the material. It is comprised of 15 multiple-choice questions
that review the material up to this point. You are encouraged to use all the
NOC resources you have available, or the NOC Website. Please note that the quiz is
voluntary and no personal information about you is recorded. It's fun, give it
If you do not wish to try the quiz, simply go to the next topic using the NEXT button below.
Management occupations are not assigned to a Skill Level category. Factors other than
education and training (e.g., previous experience, ownership of real property and capital, ownership of intellectual property, inherent
decision-making skills and organizational capabilities) are often more significant determinants for employment in management
Management occupations span the Skill Types of the entire classification structure and are found in
all areas of the labour market. All NOC codes that begin with a zero represent management occupations. When the second digit is zero,
this represents "senior" management occupations. To identify all other management occupations, the second digit (1 through 9) is
the corresponding Skill Type.
To illustrate this concept let us look at the following:
Management occupations in sales and services begin with 06. The 0 indicates that it is a management level occupation and the 6 indicates
that the occupation falls under the Sales and Service Skill Type.
Now consider an NOC code that has a zero as its
and second digit. Similar to the example above, we know that this occupation is a management occupation because it
begins with zero. We also know that the second digit for management occupations may reflect the Skill Type. However, because there is no
Skill Type 0, we can conclude that this is a senior management occupation.
A major group is simply the first two digits of an NOC code. It is a roll-up,
or, an aggregation of minor groups (which we will look at shortly). There are 26 major groups in the NOC and these are classified as
Senior Management Occupations
01-09 Middle and Other Management Occupations
Professional Occupations in Business and Finance
12 Skilled Administrative and Business Occupations
14 Clerical Occupations
21 Professional Occupations in Natural and Applied
22 Technical Occupations Related to Natural and Applied Sciences
31 Professional Occupations in
32 Technical and Skilled Occupations in Health
Occupations in Support of Health Services
41 Professional Occupations in Social
Science, Education, Government Services and Religion
42 Paraprofessional Occupations in Law, Social
Services, Education and Religion
51 Professional Occupations in Art and Culture
52 Technical and Skilled Occupations in Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport
62 Skilled Sales and Service
64 Intermediate Sales and Service Occupations
Sales and Service Occupations
72-73 Trades and Skilled Transport and Equipment Operators
74 Intermediate Occupations in Transport, Equipment Operation, Installation and Maintenance
76 Trades Helpers, Construction Labourers and Related Occupations
82 Skilled Occupations in Primary Industry
84 Intermediate Occupations in Primary Industry
86 Labourers in Primary
92 Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities Supervisors and Skilled Operators
94-95 Processing and Manufacturing Machine Operators and Assemblers
96 Labourers in
Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities
As we have learned, the first digit represents the
Skill Type for an occupation and the second digit of the code generally separates occupations according to Skill Level, or the type and
duration of training required. Therefore, we can have several major groups within each Skill Type. In the example of
, there are three major groups:
Skilled Sales and Service
64 Intermediate Sales and Service
66 Elemental Sales and Service Occupations
At the three-digit level, the major groups are further divided
into 140 minor groups. For example, major group 64, Intermediate Sales and Service occupations, includes eight minor
641 Sales Representatives, Wholesale Trade
642 Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks
643 Occupations in Travel and Accommodation
644 Tour and Recreational
Guides and Casino Occupations
645 Occupations in Food and Beverage
646 Other Occupations in Protective Servic
647 Childcare and Home Support Workers
ther Occupations in Personal Service
By now you have probably realized that each digit of
the NOC code helps to further specify an occupation. At the minor group level, you can pinpoint a domain in which an occupation is
carried out. However, we need to go one step further to identify an actual occupational group.
At the four-digit level, the system is expanded into 520 occupational groups
identified as unit groups. Unit groups represent further specificity within an occupational domain. To continue with the same
example from above, minor group 643, Occupations in Travel and Accommodation, is further divided into five unit
6431 Travel Counsellors
6432 Pursers and Flight Attendants
Sales and Service Agents
6434 Ticket Agents, Cargo Service Representatives
and Related Clerks (Except Airline)
6435 Hotel Front Desk Clerks
You have now learned about the structure of the NOC and how codes are related to
Skill Level and Skill Type. The question now is: how do you find these codes and use them in practical terms? This will be addressed in
the following section, which will introduce you to the NOC tools that you can use to code and describe occupations. We will begin by
looking at the Occupational Descriptions binder that contains all of the information that you need to code occupations. We will
then look at the NOC Matrix - a tool to help you see the entire NOC structure. Finally, we will discuss the importance and
usefulness of the Index of Titles.
Whether you are an economist analyzing labour market data for a specific occupation or an employment counselor helping someone
determine what type of training to take, occupational descriptions help us understand an occupation using a standardized
Occupational descriptions are published for each of the 520 unit groups included in the NOC. Each
description is referred to as a "NOC group". Each description includes the following elements:
The lead statement provides a general description of the
occupation and the boundaries of the unit group. It also indicates the kinds of industries, workplaces or establishments where the
occupation is found.
Example titles are the occupational titles commonly found within the group. This list is not exhaustive. A more complete
listing of alphabetical job titles can be found in the NOC Index of Titles.
The main duties section describes the most significant duties of
the occupations in the group. It may include:
a series of statements that can be applied to all occupations in the
- two or more sub-sets of occupations with statements that apply to each component; and/or
series of brief statements that are linked to specific occupations, that, while similar enough to be in the same group, can be described
Statements in Italics, at the end of this section, identify a specialization that may
exist within the occupation.
Employment requirements are prerequisites generally needed to enter the occupation.
Several types of requirements are listed:
type and level of education, starting with the lowest possible requirement for entry
into the occupation;
- specific training required, including apprenticeship, on-the-job or internal training;
- experience in a related occupation, especially for supervisory or managerial occupations;
certificates or affiliations; and/or
other requirements not dependent on formal education, such as athletic abilities,
artistic talent or presentation of a portfolio.
While some occupations have very specific
employment requirements, others have a wide range of acceptable requirements. The following terminology is used to indicate the level of
- "Is required" indicates a definite requirement.
"Is usually required" means
that the qualification is generally expressed as required by a majority of employers, but not always mandatory.
- "May be required" describes requirements that some employers may impose, but are not universal.
Qualities related to personal suitability that may have an impact on employability are not described in this publication.
These factors are subjective and determined by employers and assessed during the hiring process.
Some descriptions include additional
information to give details on:
- progression to another occupation;
and anticipated changes in employment requirements; and/or
other information that may clarify the occupational
The classified elsewhere section helps to clarify the boundaries of the unit group by identifying similar groups or
occupations that are separately classified.
Achart called the NOC Matrix shows the Major and the Minor groups, and the relationship
between Skill Types and Skill Levels. This provides an overview of the entire classification structure. The Matrix is included in the
NOC and it may also be viewed at: www5.hrsdc.gc.ca/NOC-CNP/app/index.aspx?lc=e .
Skill Types are represented in the columns while the Skill Levels are found in rows. Managerial occupations are
found in the top portion of the chart, indicating the presence of management across all segments of the labour market.
While the Matrix can be helpful in identifying Major and Minor Groups, it does not identify Unit Groups due to space
Index of Titles
As useful as the unit group
headings are, they do not always correspond with the real-world job titles we use every day. For this reason, the Index of Titles
is a tool used to search for occupational titles that do not appear in the occupational descriptions.
Scope of the Index of Titles
The Index of Titles contains thousands of
titles classified within the 520 occupational groups of the NOC. With millions of people in the employed labour force, it is impossible
to capture all of the individualized job titles that could potentially exist. While the listing in the Index is not meant to be
exhaustive, it does provide extensive coverage of commonly used and understood titles in the economy, as well as the more obscure and
specific titles found in many occupational areas. Some of the more commonly used titles in an occupation are listed within each NOC Unit
Approximately 20,000 titles included in the Index have been carried forward from the
original NOC, published in 1992, as they are still currently used in the labour market. Many new and additional titles were added to the
revised NOC 2001 and to the 2006 update. These titles have been collected in ongoing occupational research conducted since the
implementation of the first edition.
To assist users, the Index includes both formally recognized
occupational titles (e.g., radiography technologist) and less formal titles that are commonly used (e.g., X-ray technician). Some titles
represent occupations (e.g., librarian; chef), while other titles refer to specializations within an
occupation (e.g., music librarian; pastry chef). Still, others correspond to a range of jobs (e.g., furniture assembler; sawmill machine
Occupational titles appear in the Index both in natural order (e.g., travel agent) and in inverted order (e.g., agent, travel). Inverted
titles use a comma as a separator in the title string. To facilitate the location of particular generic titles, such as clerk, director,
supervisor, etc., many inversions have been included.
However, when an
occupational title is modified to provide more specificity, such as criminal lawyer, tax lawyer and real estate lawyer, and are all classified in the same NOC unit group, the Index includes the modified titles in natural
order. It also includes the generic title, lawyer, but does not list all the inversions. When the modified titles are
classified in different NOC unit groups (e.g., chemical engineer, civil engineer and industrial engineer), inversions are included in
the Index to assist users in finding the appropriate unit group from the range of choices.
Industry, institution or subject matter modifiers are
added to many titles. This information is attached to the title following a dash (e.g., customer service supervisor - retail;
electronics mechanic - avionics) to provide a means of differentiation among titles. Often, the extensions provide further information
to clarify the placement of titles in the classification structure (e.g., painter - visual arts; painter - motor vehicle manufacturing).
These modifiers should be considered when coding an occupational title.
Titles of military occupations are indicated by adding the modifier
after a dash (e.g., sonar technician - military). In a very few cases where military appears in the title itself
(i.e., military police officer; military pilot), the modifier is not added.
When a military occupation
includes more than one NOC unit group, the title has been given a descriptive modifier in brackets as well as the military modifier, for
example, medical officer (specialist) - military.
The terminological research conducted for the translation and adaptation of the
titles contained in this revised Index of Titles has dealt with a component that was not previously addressed. Concordances for
all titles in both official languages have been identified. The level of concordance identifies correspondence between one title (or
several where there are equivalent titles) to one or many titles in the other language. Contact us if you wish to learn more about
Practice Quiz II
By now, you understand how management occupations are
classified within the NOC. You also know the three groups of the NOC: major,
minor and unit. Finally, you have learned the three NOC publications and their
To facilitate your learning, try the online practice quiz. Similar to the first quiz this one is designed to help you
identify areas of difficulty that you may be experiencing with the material.
The second quiz is comprised of 20 multiple-choice questions that review all of
the material covered up to this point. Again, you are encouraged to use the NOC
resources you have available, or the NOC website. Note that the quiz is
voluntary and no personal information about you is recorded.
If you do not wish to try the quiz, simply go to the next topic using the NEXT button below.
Putting It All Together
Now that you have a better understanding of the structure and concepts surrounding the NOC, it is time
to put what you have learned into practice. The remainder of your learning will bridge the gap between theory and application. We will
concentrate on learning how to code an occupation based on minimal criteria. This will enable you to better understand the uses of the
NOC. Finally, we will learn advanced tips and strategies to classify some of the more difficult occupations. So, let's go...
Learning to Code
The numerical hierarchy upon which the
NOC is based is familiar to regular users of statistics; it offers the convenience of describing the entire structure, and all its
underlying definitions, with one number.
It is important that all users learn how to properly code.
Accurate coding is especially important to users who depend on data that is collected using the NOC. For example, when analyzing Census
occupational data, an economist must be aware of the potential impacts of coding error.
how coding works will help users recognize errors, why they are made and how to avoid making the same errors in the
The usefulness of the NOC occupational descriptions is enhanced by the fact that each
occupational code reflects the skills required; this means that the NOC is directly focused on the work performed. Each occupation is
defined in terms of the type and level of skill required.
The type of skill is assigned
based on 10 broad occupational areas (0 to 9). These areas combine work type - such as management, work sectors - such as health or
sales, and some other characteristics of work - for example, subject matter domains such as natural and applied sciences. The first
digit of an occupational code normally reflects the Skill Type.
The level of skill required is based on
the type of education or training needed to perform the work. There are four basic levels where occupations require either university,
college/technical school or apprenticeship/training, high school/on-the-job training, or short demonstration training. Skill Level is
shown as the second digit of the NOC code, except for management occupations.
Together, the first and
second digit make up the Major Group. The first, second, and third digit make up the Minor Group, with the third digit representing more
specificity related to the area in which an occupation is carried out.
The Unit Group refers to the
four-digit NOC code. The four-digit code represents the occupation within the area represented by the Minor Group.
If you're thinking, "Ok, I already know all of this" that's great - you are almost an expert in the NOC! Now, your last
challenge will be to apply what you have learned.
As much as a classification system is important, it
cannot deliver valid results without having a reliable method for organizing data. This is the point where learning how to properly
classify occupations is critical.
Often, the easiest way to classify occupations is achieved by using the
Index of Titles. While this is an easy method, it is not necessarily the most reliable method. The person coding an occupation
must always keep in mind that occupational titles defined by only one source does not always coincide with the NOC
For example, most private companies create their own occupational titles without consulting
the NOC. Therefore, a "customer service representative" who works for a particular company may in fact be a "telemarketer" according to
the NOC. This case exemplifies one of the major fallacies of the coding practice - the assumption that all occupational titles and
descriptions are universal or standardized - they are not and the coder must recognize this fact.
Unfortunately, there is no simple formula or recipe to identify whether an occupational title or description is the same as the title
and description in the NOC. However, we will discuss the most important criteria to consider when assigning codes. You may inevitably
come across any of the following challenges when coding:
A. Coding an occupation with only a job description
A personnel administrator in a large corporation wants to find the occupational code for a proposed
new position within the company. The duties indicate the new position is assistant to a senior executive and it has been decided that a
community college diploma in business administration will be required. The company wants to use the NOC to classify their new position.
The NOC may also be used to assign a title to the position. Here is how the administrator would locate the occupational code for the
The administrator identifies the Skill Type and Skill Level specified in the job description
and consults the Occupational Descriptions binder. Starting with the Skill Type, she concludes that the occupation is part of the
group called Business, Finance and Administration Occupations, all of which start with the digit 1.
Next, she considers that community college graduation indicates Skill Level B, which can be reflected as either a 2 or a
3 in the second digit of the code. She finds three major groups: professional (11), skilled (12) and clerical (14), so the
position will be in Major Group 12: Skilled Administrative and Business Occupations.
considers the four minor groups in this category, which are delineated by area or domain of work:
121 Clerical Supervisors
122 Administrative and Regulatory
123 Finance and Insurance Administrative Occupations
124 Secretaries, Recorders and Transcriptionists
The new position is not supervisory and does not involve finance or insurance, so the choice is narrowed down to
122 and 124. After reviewing the 8 unit groups included in Administrative and Regulatory Occupations, the
administrator finds that the most relevant unit group is 1222 Executive Assistants. The NOC description of duties includes such elements
as analysis, research and meeting independently with clients. However, the proposed position is oriented more towards handling
correspondence and scheduling meetings on behalf of the executive and therefore, she decides that this is not the appropriate
Turning to minor group 124, the administrator finds that unit group 1241 Secretaries
(Except Legal and Medical) is a possibility, since the other unit groups in that category are specialized. The duties for NOC 1241
Secretaries listed in the Occupational Descriptions closely match those listed in the new job description. Also, the description
indicates that completion of a one- or two-year college diploma is a typical requirement. She checks the "Classified Elsewhere" section
and finds that none of them are appropriate, so codes the position as 1241 Secretaries. Using the example titles, she assigns the
"executive secretary" title to the company's new position.
B. Coding an occupation using
the title and description
In this example, a paralegal in an immigration lawyer's office
wants to find the occupational classification code for a client who is seeking to immigrate to Canada. He knows that the client assists
with patient care in a dentist's office, and that she will be seeking similar work in Canada. Here is how he would locate the code for
The paralegal knows that the title of the client's previous job in another country was
"Clinical Assistant". He uses his copy of the NOC Index of Titles and looks at the listings. Clinical Assistant is shown with a
reference to unit group 3414. The paralegal locates the entry for classification 3414 in the NOC Occupational Descriptions
binder, and he discovers that this group does not include dental occupations. He looks in the Index again, this time under "dental".
There are nearly 40 titles beginning with the word "dental". There are a number of assistants listed in the dental field and he finds
dental assistant and dental clinical assistant titles, both referring to the same unit group, 3411.
In the NOC, the paralegal locates unit group 3411 Dental Assistant. The duties and education requirements are very
similar to the experience and qualifications outlined in the client's resume. The paralegal checks the "Classified Elsewhere" section
and sees that there is also a related occupation called 3223 Dental Technicians. He reviews that description and notes that the duties
relate to the manufacture of dentures, which he realizes is not relevant to his client. After reviewing all of the dental related
occupations and their descriptions, the paralegal concludes to code the occupation as 3411 Dental Assistant.
C. Coding an occupation with only the title
the only information you will have in order to assign an NOC code is the title of an occupation. In this case, when there is no way of
obtaining additional information, use the Index to search for the occupational title or for the closest approximation, and use the
corresponding NOC code. Be sure to look at possible inversions as well.
titles do not appear in the Index of Titles, assign an NOC code that reflects as closely as possible the essence of the work. For
example, the title forensic scientist or its inversion scientist, forensic does not appear in the Index. In this example,
we would assign a 2 (Natural and Applied Sciences) for the first digit given that scientist forms part of the occupation title.
Secondly, we can assign digit 1 as the second digit of the code because scientists are classified in Skill Level 1 of the NOC. Thirdly,
we narrow our search by looking at the minor groups for Major group 21. We have several options, however, there are two that relate much
more to the occupation that we are trying to code: 211 - Physical Science Professionals and 212 - Life Science Professionals. At this
point, you must exercise your own judgment as to which minor group and unit group you choose.
that the NOC is only as good as the person using it. Guessing should be avoided unless it is absolutely necessary.
Other Coding Tips:
- Apprentices are coded in the same group as qualified workers.
- Residents and articling students are coded in their respective professional groups.
professionals are usually classified within the occupational group they supervise, in Skill Level A.
other occupations are usually classified in specific unit groups in Skill Level B within the same Skill Type as those
- Self-employed construction contractors and supervisors are usually classified as Skill Level B.
Management occupations start with 0, and for middle and other management occupations, the second digit (1 to 9) of the major
group classification indicates the Skill Type, rather than Skill Level.
In certain cases, you may consider the wage
that a person is making to help you code their occupation. For example, a person may indicate that they work as a manager in a retail
store. If the person is making minimum wage, this may be an indication that the occupation is supervisory rather than
Congratulations, you have completed the NOC Training Tutorial. You are now
invited to take The NOC Challenge. Similar to the two
quizzes, the NOC Challenge provides you with feedback about your knowledge and
ability to apply the NOC.
The NOC Challenge is comprised of 25 multiple-choice
questions directly related to what you have learned. Users who take the
Challenge and score 75% or more will receive a Completion Certificate at the
end of their online session. While the Challenge is voluntary, we strongly urge
you to try it. Other than your name and e-mail address, no other personal
information is recorded and your score is only for you to see.
If you do not wish to take the NOC Challenge, simply go to the next topic using the NEXT button below.
For more information
For additional information about the NOC and related occupational publications, or to obtain NOC information in an alternate
format, please contact us:
Skills and Labour Market Information Division
Program Policy and Coordination
Human Resources and Skill Development Canada (HRSDC)
Place du Portage, Phase IV, 4th Floor
140, promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0J9