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 Federal Skilled Worker program require by definition that the person has some level of education to work on it.

The definition for each accepted skill level:

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:

Examples of (maybe) not accepted scenarios:


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.



Amin Dec 14, 2022 07:35:37

Hey, First, thanks for the efforts you're making here. The writing is engaging and the content is certainly helpful. After reading you for a quite while now, I feel I know you, and this is the effect of good writing in my opinion. Now, I have a question that's probably not so clear and easy to answer. I know that. However, I'd appreciate your giving me your opinion on this. I will get my psychology master's in a few months, and I have more than 6 years of work experience; however, I had been working in a pharmacy. Do these two, pharmacy-tech work and psychology education, match? And also, Becoming a pharmacy tech in my country doesn't require a degree, and can be learned through apprenticeship. This is contrary to Canada where one needs to study for two years and also get a certificate. Does my work experience then worth nothing? or does it still counts? Thank you for your time.

Sankar Dec 21, 2022 09:01:33

Thanks for your consideration about the work experience and education. I was graduated in pharmacy degree back home India. I have been working at the esso gas station as a retail sales supervisor. I am also paid minimum wages which 16.25 per hour plus vacation payout benefits. I’m going to apply for my PR under CEC express entry. Would it be okay to show my work experience as a supervisor. I’m working on my open work permit and I have studied for two years in Canada also. But I wasn’t able to find any field job like lab technician or pharmacist technician or hospital jobs since I’m not a registered pharmacist in Canada yet. I’m preparing for my pharmacy exam meanwhile.

Riya Jan 21, 2023 21:36:20

Hi Shankar did you apply for your PR, I currently having the same confusion as you

Riya Jan 21, 2023 21:36:46

I am *

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