If The Game of Life (referring to the board game, nothing more grandiose) has taught us anything, it’s that brain surgeons, lawyers and professional athletes get paid well. Duh. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that. Wait! Rocket scientists get hefty paycheques too.
But if those careers sound a little daunting, or sports aren’t your thing, maybe one of these underrated jobs are. Because of the kicker? A university degree isn’t required. That’s right, you can still make a decent living in Canada without post-secondary education. Check it:
15. Executive Chef
Salary range: $39,701 – $80,243
Requirements: A chef can cook up a decent living, what with some kitchens only needing a high school education, but you need to be able to handle a lot of stress and long hours on your feet. Trade certifications, however, will likely be needed, as well as management training. Or you could always go into it part-time later in life as it’s one of the 20 best jobs for retirees.
14. Nuclear reactor operator
Salary range: $41,879 – $206,605
Requirements: Aside from a high school diploma, operators need a three-to-five-year power system operation apprenticeship under their belt, as well as three-plus years of work experience in a related (think electrical or electronic technology) field. Power station operators require a provincial or territorial power engineering or stationary engineering certificate, according to class, while control room operators at nuclear power plants require licensing from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. And we all thought Homer Simpson was a dumb-dumb.
13. Automotive service technician/mechanic
Salary range: $26,532 – $71,119
Requirements: A high school diploma or the academic equivalent, and some shops require certification. Decent wages, but it’s a messy job. But everyone’s got to maintain their car; you’ll never be hurting for work.
Salary range: $35,759 – $92,276
Requirements: A high school diploma, certification if the company calls for it. But the trades generally have it made, and as long as house prices and sales stay up, these kinds of jobs will be in demand all over the country.
Salary range: $33,877 – $85,602
Requirements: A high school diploma, certification if the company calls for it. Jobs in this field at this level always seem to be in short supply, making welders one of the highest paying in-demand jobs in Canada, and they’re typically located in western Canada or the territories so if you’re not there, prepare to move.
10. Construction manager
Salary range: $55,164 – $162,078
Requirements: While a bachelor’s degree is required by some companies, many only want on-the-job experience for keeping everything on the up and up on the operations level of a construction project.
9. Court reporter
Salary range: $42,484 – $77,068
Requirements: A degree isn’t required but a two-year court-reporting program, at one of two schools in Canada — one in Toronto, the other in Alberta — is. And the requirements are no joke: you need to be able to type at a speed of at least 225 words per minute with near-perfect accuracy. On a steno machine.
Salary range: $38,388 – $100,688
Requirements: A high school diploma and a certification in first aid and CPR (at a health care provider level) are needed, along with no criminal history, have an excellent grasp of the English language and the ability to communicate clearly in high-pressure situations. You also have to be OK with it being one of the worst jobs for your health. The shifts are long but rotate, and include nights, weekends and holidays.
Salary range: $33,308 – $86,932
Requirements: A high school diploma plus a four-to-five-year apprenticeship is typically required. Most provinces require trade certification, but Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories don’t. But, hey, every little bit helps.
6. Garbage truck driver
Salary range: $31,779 – $61,264
Requirements: Most companies look for drivers with a DZ license and good communication skills, and your hourly rate ($15.24 – $25.06) depends on experience.
Salary range: $25,434 – $178,000
Requirements: As with any job in sales, you need to be lucky as hell, but a lot can also depend on the housing market itself. That being said, to become a realtor, you simply need a high school diploma, a real estate training course and a license to sell but with millennials opting to live in expensive cities, you’ll be just fine.
4. Web developer
Salary range: $32,700 – $75,114
Requirements: Many designers and developers have a gift, so while some companies might require a degree, others will want to see your talent and how good you actually are.
3. Air traffic controller
Salary range: $47,344 – $169,911
Requirements: A high school diploma, a basic radio telephone operator’s license, completion of a NAV Canada training program, and an air traffic controller’s license. That being said, it’s one of the most high-stress jobs out there that pays $100K or more, but the bonuses and brilliant benefits make it quite tempting.
2. Land surveyor
Salary range: $38,075 – $108,568
Requirements: Entry-level jobs start decently but once you get your professional license, you can average about $65K annually. With time, however, a six-figure income could be yours.
1. Transit driver
Salary range: $31,968 – $72,264
Requirements: Different regions vary but typically all one needs is a high school diploma, non-probationary Ontario driver’s license that’s in good standing with no suspensions, and can meet all the standards for a Class “C” license. But, hey, at least you won’t have to tackle these commutes.