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Published by Gabriel Oliveira on November 15, 2020

Work experience needs to match education?

Short answer is No. The area of your work experience doesn't need to match your area of education.

But that doesn't mean they can always be totally unrelated. Keep reading to understand why.

FSW Minimum Requirements

To immigrate to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker program (FSW), the minimum requirements include education level and work experience.

It is not rare that people work on different areas than those that they studied for. For an example, you might be an accountant by academic education, but now work as a software developer.

In those cases, the work experience is still valid for Canada immigration.

Education and Work Experience are separate requirements.

NOC is all about Work Experience

When you create your Express Entry profile, you must inform what is the NOC code for your occupation.

This occupation is the one that you work on, which is not necessarily the one you studied for.

If you don't know what's your NOC code, look for your occupation on the complete NOC list.

Why they can't be totally unrelated

The occupations (NOCs with skill levels 0, A or B) accepted on the FSW program require by definition that the person has some level of education to work on it.

The definition for each accepted skill level:

  • 0 - Managearal Occupations - usually require university education
  • A - Occupations that usually require university education
  • B - Occupations that usually require college education, specialized training or apprenticeship training

You can see all of them require some sort of education. Therefore, in theory, you wouldn't be able to have the work experience on those jobs, without the formal education.

Also, some professions, like health-related ones, lawyers, vets, etc., are regulated. And the organizations that regulate them only allows people to work if they have the proper education.


Examples of (probably) accepted scenarios:

  • Graduated in Business Administration, but now works as a Software Developer
  • Graduated as an Accountant, but now works as a HR Representative
  • Graduated in Electrical Engineering, but now works as a Shop Manager

Examples of (maybe) not accepted scenarios:

  • Graduated in Medicine, but now works as a Accountant
  • Graduated as an Electrician, but now works as a HR Representative


There is no rule that says that work experience (NOC) should match education. But most (if not all) of the accepted NOCs require some level of education to work on it, so you wouldn't be able to have the experience without the education.

All cases are analyzed by human immigration agents, and they will make a genuine effort to understand your case as a whole. So, if it makes sense, it will probably be approved. If not, probably not.

If you feel like you should explain something about your specific case, related to work experience, education, or anything else, it might be a good idea to write a letter of explanation.


Related Articles

NOC Codes - Full List

Proof of Work Experience Letters Sample

5 Minimum Requirements to Immigrate to Canada

How to write letter of explanation

I hope this article helps you on your immigration journey!

If you are going through the Federal Skilled Worker program, check out our step-by-step guide and tracking system.

It is 100% free.


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