A Guide to the BC Economy and Labour Market
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  Appendix 3: How are occupations defined?  

The National Occupational Classification System (NOC) is used to classify jobs into occupations, based on skill level and skill type.

Skill types

Skill types are defined based on the type of work performed. There are 10 occupational groups defined in the NOC based on skill types (these skill types are used in the description of various occupations in each industry).

  1. Management Occupations—legislators, senior management occupations, and middle and other management occupations.
  2. Business, finance and administration—occupations that involve supervising and providing financial and business services, administrative and regulatory services, and clerical support services.
  3. Natural and applied sciences and related occupations—professional and technical occupations in the sciences, including physical and life science, engineering and architecture.
  4. Health Occupations—occupations involving providing health care services directly to patients and occupations that provide support to professional and technical staff.
  5. Occupations in social science, education, government service and religion—a range of occupations concerned with law, teaching, counseling, conducting social science research, developing government policy and administering government and other programs.
  6. Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport—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.
  7. Sales and service—sales occupations, personal and protective service occupations, and occupations related to the hospitality and tourism industries.
  8. Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations—construction and mechanical trades, trades supervisors and contractors and operators of transportation and heavy equipment.
  9. Occupations unique to primary industry—non-technical occupations in mining, oil and gas production, forestry and logging, agriculture, horticulture and fishing.
  10. Occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities—supervisory and production occupations in manufacturing, processing and utilities.

Skill levels

Skill levels are defined in terms of the amount and type of education and training that are required to enter and work in an occupation. Four skill levels are identified in the NOC:

Skill Level A

  • University degree (bachelor, master, or post-graduate)

Skill Level B

  • Two to three years of post-secondary education at a community college or institute of technology, or
  • Two or four years of apprenticeship training, or
  • Three to four years of secondary school and more than two years of on-the-job training, training courses or specific work experience
  • Also supervisory occupations and those with significant health or safety responsibilities

Skill Level C

  • Usually high school completion,
  • Up to two years of on-the-job training, training courses or specific work experience

Skill Level D

  • Up to two years of secondary school, and
  • Short demonstration or on-the-job-training

This table shows the relationship between skill levels and skill types. A brief description of the major occupational groups can be found in the following tables.

National Occupational Classification Matrix

Skill level
Skill type:
Management Occupations
Major Groups
Senior management occupations 00, 001
Business, finance and administration 011, 012, 013
Natural and applied science & related 021
Health occupations 031, 041
Social science, education, government service & religion 031, 041
Art, culture, recreation & sport 051
Sales & service 061, 062, 063, 064, 065
Trades, transport & equipment operators & related 071, 072
Unique to primary industry 081
Unique to processing, manufacturing & utilities 091

The 26 Major Groups of the National Occupational Classification (NOC)

Major Group
0 Senior management
01/09 Middle management & other management
11 Professional occupations in business & finance
12 Skilled administrative & business occupations
14 Clerical occupations, general office skills
21 Professional occupations in natural & applied sciences
22 Technical occupations related to natural & applied sciences
31 Professional occupations in health
32 Technical skilled occupations in health
34 Assisting occupations in support of health services
41 Professional occupations in social science, education, government services & religion
42 Paraprofessional occupations in law, social services, education & religion
51 Professional occupations in art & culture
52 Technical & skilled occupations in art, culture, recreation & sport
62 Skilled sales & service occupations
64 Intermediate sales & service occupations
66 Elemental sales & service occupations
72/73 Trades & skilled transport & equipment operators
74 Intermediate occupations in transportation, equipment operation, installation & maintenance
76 Trades helpers, construction labourers & related occupations
82 Skilled occupations in primary industry
84 Intermediate occupations in primary industry
86 Labourers in primary industry
92 Processing, manufacturing & utilities supervisors & skilled operators
94/95 Processing & manufacturing machine operators & assemblers
96 Labourers in processing, manufacturing & utilities
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