NOC Skill Type: How Does Your Qualification Compare To Canadian Standards?

November 25, 2022


  • Wesley Allan

Canada has one of the most diverse and booming job markets worldwide. Due to its large expanse and small population, much of the country needs experienced workers to fulfill many social functions that Canadian municipalities can't source locally. As a result, there are a plethora of jobs in Canada for immigrants. However, the Canadian Government has stated that it's often difficult to classify many of the qualifications of migrant workers. There is no standardization amongst many international educational or training institutions. As a result, most workers' skill sets are classed under the National Occupational Classification with a NOC skill type.

To learn more about Canada's job market, here's a breakdown of the top jobs in Canada for immigrants.

What is a NOC skill type?

The NOC is the national reference list for occupations in Canada. The average NOC skill type is down into an individual code based on the type of work, level of education, experience and know-how required to take on the specific job. This is based purely on the job as recognized in Canada as that is where you plan on working. The point of the NOC is to disseminate data around the Canadian labour market, to show the Government what the labour market is missing, including employment equity and skills development, among others. Overall, one of the primary functions of the NOC is to help the Government to regulate employment-related government programs.

What are the different skill types under the NOC?

NOC Skill TypesAs of November 16 2022, the Canadian Government has updated their NOC system from NOC 2016 to NOC 2021. Under NOC 2021, NOC skill types are now broken down into six major categories, known as the Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) system. Each of these categories focus on a different sector of the labour market and based on the level of qualification required to do the job and the seniority of the position. The more knowledge required to do each occupation, the higher they're ranked. Each TEER level affects your CRS score differently. The NOC 2021 TEER system levels are broken down as follows:


  • Management positions or positions where the applicant is in charge of other employees.
  • NOC type 0 occupations include:
    • Restaurant managers
    • Shore captains
    • Human Resources managers
    • Senior Management staff.


  • These are professional jobs that usually require:
    • A univeristy degree; or
    • Multiple years experience in a TEER 2 occupation
  • TEER 1 occupations include:
    • Lawyer
    • Doctor
    • Accountant


  • These are technical or supervisory jobs that usually require:
    • A post-secondary degree;
    • At least two years of apprenticeship; or
    • Multiple years experience in a TEER 3 occupation
  • TEER 2 occupations include:
    • Plumbers
    • Restaurant Supervisors
    • Police Officers 


  • These are technical jobs or highly skilled trades that usually require:
    • A diploma from either a community or technical college;
    • Less than two years of appreticeship;
    • Six months of on-the-job training;
    • Specialised work experience; or
    • Multiple years experience in a TEER 4 occupation.
  • TEER 3 occupations include:
    • Photographers
    • Craftpersons
    • Electricians


  • These are considered semi-skilled jobs in Canada and require:
    • A high school diploma;
    • Several weeks of job-specific training; or
    • Multiple years experience in a TEER 5 occupation.
  • TEER 4 occupations include:
    • Receptionists
    • Flight Attendants
    • Food and beverage servers


  • These specifically refer to what are seen as unskilled jobs in Canada. They are primarily manual labour jobs and have no formal prerequisites.
  • TEER 5 occupations include:
    • Labourers
    • Cashiers
    • Cleaning staff
    • Factory workers

Each specific occupation is given a code under the NOC Categories. This NOC code is vital for any visa or citizenship applications to Canada to show the government body in charge of immigration, Immigrants, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) the way each applicant can be of aid to the Canadian economy.

Your NOC code can often help determine your Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS). This scoring system calculates your eligibility to be presented with permanent residency in Canada.If you are unsure which NOC code and TEER levels you fall under, click the button below to talk to a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant(RCIC) who can answer any questions you may have.

How Do I Compare My Skills to Canadian Skills?

How do I compare My Skills to Canadian Skills?

This is an issue the Canadian Government is constantly grappling with. There are no accurate means of standardizing the quality of education from institutions outside of Canada. As a result, the Canadian Government has several pathways for qualified immigrants to have their qualifications verified. Canada has around 500 regulatory authorities and many credential assessment bodies designed to check and validate your credentials compared to Canadian standards. Testing also differs depending on the requirements and enterprise you choose to work with.

Due to Canada's high immigrant population, many of these bodies are run by immigrants or internationally-trained workers. You should source a body run by people who have experience dealing with qualifications from your specific country to get the most accurate representation.

Unskilled jobs in Canada may not require a certification or license. It is up to the employer to determine whether a potential employee has the necessary qualifications, training or experience to work for them. The primary focus of the government regulatory bodies is on occupations that have specific qualification-based requirements such as a degree or diploma.

There are also jobs in Canada for immigrants at the TEER 2 or 3 level that are specifically sought after by certain provinces.

These are Immigration Pilots like the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, and the Agri-food Immigration Pilot. There are many Immigration pilots for skilled, semi-skilled and even unskilled jobs in Canada. Find out more about how immigration pilot programs work here.

Get Your Qualifications Recognised

Educational Credential Assessment

Once you've contacted a regulatory authority, they will present you with multiple results as to the validity of your qualifications. With each result, specific actions need to be taken for your qualifications to match up with the Canadian standards.

The different pathways that regulatory bodies will present to you go as follows:

The Direct Pathway

  • The regulatory authority validates the applicant's qualifications as they align with the Canadian standard.
  • This is the ideal result as nothing further needs to be done.

The Pathway To Skills Upgrading

  • The regulatory authority recognizes the applicant's qualifications. It acknowledges that the applicant will need to improve certain aspects or skills to meet the Canadian standards.
  • The applicant may have to upskill via a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and return for a reassessment once they've upgraded their skills.

The Alternate Pathway

  • This is for applicants whose skills do not meet the criteria for validation in Canada.
  • The applicant would either have to get another qualification at a DLI or equivalent. Then, they'd need to be reassessed to be accepted.

Once each pathway has been completed, the ultimate goal is for the applicant to enter the Canadian workforce at the level that their qualification allows them.


How do I find my job's NOC code?

The Canadian Government has a database that covers over 30,000 different professions from every NOC skill type and TEER Level. You can search for your job title and receive the corresponding code and skill type.

When do I contact a regulatory authority about matching my qualifications?

We recommend you contact an authority before applying for your immigration or visa program for Canada. You must know where you stand and if there are any actions you need to take for your qualifications to be verified.

What if I have no qualifications to speak of but have a job offer from a Canadian employer?

A job offer for gainful employment from a Canadian employer or company is always first prize. Provided you pass all necessary background and medical checks, submit your essential applications and have sufficient documentation. This proves both the legitimacy of your job offer and the company offering you the position; you should be in relatively good stead for whatever program you're looking to join.

Where Do You Fall?

Canada has a very rigorous way of discerning how different skills, jobs and levels of education are treated concerning potential immigrants. Every occupation registered in Canada is put onto the NOC skill list and judged based on the level of education, experience and skill required to complete the job. However, being on a lower-level skill type on the NOC list is not necessarily bad. Multiple Canadian provinces are explicitly searching for experienced immigrants in professions considered TEER 2, 3, 4 or 5 by the Canadian standard.

As far as jobs in Canada for immigrants, the most important thing is to try and ensure you have a job offer or at least are in a position where getting work in Canada would be highly probable. In addition, to make sure your qualifications are valid by the Canadian Government, be sure to contact one of the regulatory bodies to know if you need to improve your skills or gain further qualifications for your education to be considered legitimate by the Canadian Government.

For any help with finding and contacting any of these authorities or any other questions regarding your qualifications or jobs in Canada for immigrants, speak to an RCIC below.