About the National Occupational Classification

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is the national reference for occupations in Canada. It provides a systematic classification structure that categorizes the entire range of occupational activity in Canada for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating occupational data for labour market information and employment-related program administration. Occupational information is of critical importance for the provision of labour market and career intelligence, skills development, occupational forecasting, labour supply and demand analysis, employment equity, and numerous other programs and services.

More about the NOC 2021 version

An occupation is defined as a collection of jobs that are sufficiently similar in work performed to be grouped under a common label for classification purposes. A job, in turn, encompasses all the tasks carried out by a particular worker to complete their duties.

The basic principle of the classification of the NOC is the kind of work performed. Job titles are identified and grouped primarily in terms of the work usually performed, this being determined by the tasks, duties, employment requirements, and responsibilities associated with each occupation. Factors such as the materials processed or used, the industrial processes and the equipment used, the degree of responsibility and complexity of work, as well as the products made and services provided, have been taken as indicators of the work performed when combining jobs titles into occupations and occupations into groups.

The NOC comprises more than 40,000 job titles gathered into 516 unit groups, organized according to six Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) categories and ten broad occupational categories. Unit groups are based on similarity of tasks, defined primarily by functions and employment requirements. Unit groups can often be linked directly to one occupation (such as NOC 31110 – Dentists) or to more than one occupation (such as NOC 72600 – Air pilots, flight engineers and flying instructors). Each unit group provides a short description of its associated occupation(s), lists its main duties and employment requirements, and provides examples of job titles.

Students, workers, employers, career and vocational counsellors, and educational and training organizations use the NOC on a daily basis to support career and vocational decisions. The classification is also used to support policy development and program design and administration as well as service delivery.

The NOC has been developed as part of a collaborative partnership between Employment and Social Development Canada and Statistics Canada. The two departments also work together to maintain and update the NOC. The NOC 2021 version focused on structural changes, such as the move to a 5-digit system and the introduction of a new six-tiered TEER category to replace the skill levels. Updates to the classification will continue on a regular basis.

Want to learn more about the NOC?

Revision process

Learn why the NOC is reviewed on an ongoing basis, about the different types of revisions, and about the revision process.

Concepts and conventions

Familiarize yourself with the concepts and conventions used to define and structure the NOC.


Not familiar with the NOC? Take our online tutorial and learn more about the classification’s guiding principles, its structure, and its content.

Frequently asked questions

You want to know more about the NOC? Take a look at our FAQ.

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