High-Paying Jobs In Canada That Don't Need A Degree

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The evidence is clear that you’re better off having a university degree than not, but academia isn’t for everybody, and if you’re not the bookish kind, you can still find reasonably well paid employment out there. | Getty
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The evidence is clear that you’re better off having a university degree than not, but academia isn’t for everybody, and if you’re not the bookish kind, you can still find reasonably well paid employment out there.

Job-search site Workopolis has put together a survey of high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree, and it turns out there are still quite a few of them.

Many of the highest-paying non-degree jobs these days have to do with two of Canada’s economic strong points: The oil boom (now over) and the housing construction boom.

Welders, pipe fitters, construction workers and realtors are among the job classifications benefitting from Canada’s oil-and-houses economy. But beware — the oil price collapse is threatening employment levels in Western Canada, and the housing boom is down to just two provinces.

Another area where you can find work without a degree is driving — truck drivers and public transit drivers are among the most in-demand jobs, Workopolis reports.

However, in the long run driving may not be all it’s cracked up to be as a career. As those who follow Uber and Google’s driverless car experiment are aware, driving jobs are changing, and are among the likeliest to be automated in the coming years.

But that is still years away, and for now, human truck drivers can earn some $42,000 a year, typically, on Canada's roads.

Here are the some of the highest-paying jobs that don’t require a degree:

  • Long distance truck driver
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    This was "among the most advertised-for jobs in Canada last year," according to Workopolis, and it takes employers very long to fill positions. Job ads for truck drivers spend an average of 55 days online, among the longest periods for any type of position. Pays $42,000 on average.
  • Transit driver
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    Requirements for transit jobs vary from city to city, but in Toronto, for example, you don't need a degree, just a class "G" driver's licence and a high school diploma. Starting pay ranges from $29,529 to $63,480.
  • Realtor
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    For this job you will need a high school diploma, a realtor training course and a licence from the province. Realtors work on commission so how much you earn depends on how much you work and how strong the real estate market is. Many realtors work only part-time, but an average realtor working full-time in Toronto earns $55,000 a year, or $52,000 a year in Vancouver. "Higher-end" realtors earn upwards of $105,000 a year.
  • Construction manager
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    Construction managers are responsible for the on-site operations of a construction project and typically earn around $125,000 a year. Workopolis notes that while some companies require a bachelor's degree, "it's on-the-job experience that matters most."
  • Welders, pipe fitters, electricians...
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    ...In other words, "the trades," where starting salaries can be as high as $80,000 to $100,000. The oil industry and the housing construction boom have ensured that there has been plenty of this sort of work in Canada in recent years. Workers in these areas are "in short supply," Workopolis notes, but with the collapse in oil prices, these sorts of jobs will likely be less in demand in Western Canada. So long as house prices and sales stay up, they will likely still be in demand elsewhere across the country.
  • Mechanics and service technicians
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    Mechanics typically earn $70,000 a year, but "the real money comes when you add in some business and marketing skills and open your own shop," Workopolis notes.

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