10 High-Paying Jobs in Canada with Low Skills – Most people assume that a university degree is essential to securing a high-paying job. However, there are well-paying career options in Canada even without four years of college and tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. Many employers now prioritize hands-on skills and experience over academics. You can find rewarding roles with salaries of $50,000 or more in fields like healthcare, trades, transportation and construction.
This guide will explore in-demand jobs accessible for those without degrees, as well as the training, certifications and skills needed to get your foot in the door. With a bit of targeted preparation, you can establish a stable career with plenty of earning potential, without ever setting foot in a university lecture hall.
Table of Content
- Questions to Answer
- Jobs in Trades and Transportation
- Jobs in Healthcare and Social Services
- Jobs in Business Operations and Construction
- Tips for Getting Hired
- Pros and Cons of Pursuing These Career Paths
Questions to answer
- What are some high-paying jobs in Canada that don’t require a university degree?
- What skills and experience are needed for these roles?
- How much can you expect to earn in these positions?
- What is the job outlook and demand for these roles in Canada?
- What are the pros and cons of pursuing these career paths?
- How can you get the required training or certifications for these jobs?
- What are tips for getting hired into these roles as a new candidate?
Jobs in Trades and Transportation
The skilled trades and transportation sectors offer some of the best career opportunities in Canada that don’t require extensive education or experience. Here are some of the top options:
Truck drivers transport goods and materials across Canada and into the United States. With only a high school diploma and a truck driver certificate, you can earn an average salary of $45,000-$75,000 per year.
Welders join and cut metal pieces using various techniques. Entry-level welders can earn $40,000 with on-the-job training. More experienced welders can make $80,000 or more.
Electricians install, maintain and repair electrical systems. Apprenticeship training is required. Once certified, electricians earn an average of $50,000-$90,000 per year.
Plumbers install and repair water systems, pipes, fixtures and other equipment. An apprenticeship leads to journeyman certification. Average pay is $40,000-$85,000 per year.
These trades jobs are in high demand across Canada due to skilled worker shortages. With the right technical certificate or completed apprenticeship, you can land a stable, good-paying job without a university degree.
Jobs in Healthcare and Social Services
Healthcare is a rapidly growing field in Canada with strong demand for workers even without advanced degrees. Here are some of the top options in this sector:
Personal Support Worker
Personal support workers help patients with daily living activities and healthcare needs. The average salary for PSWs in Canada is around $35,000 per year (Source). To become a PSW, you typically need to complete a 6-12 month certificate program.
Pharmacy assistants work under pharmacists to fill prescriptions, take payment, and perform clerical tasks. The average salary for pharmacy assistants is around $39,000 annually (Source). Formal pharmacy assistant training generally lasts 6-12 weeks.
Dental assistants prepare patients for procedures, sterilize instruments, take x-rays, and more. The average dental assistant salary in Canada is approximately $40,000 per year (Source 1, Source 2). You’ll need to complete a 1-2 year dental assisting program.
All of these healthcare roles have strong demand and job growth projected over the next decade as Canada’s population ages.
Jobs in Business Operations and Construction
There are well-paying opportunities in business operations and construction that don’t require extensive education or experience. Some top options include:
Construction Manager: Construction managers plan and oversee building projects. According to Talent.com, the average salary for a construction manager in Canada is $89,907 per year, with entry-level salaries starting at $72,981.
Heavy Equipment Operator: Heavy equipment operators operate machinery like excavators, bulldozers, and cranes. The average hourly wage for a heavy equipment operator in Quebec is $23.39, according to ZipRecruiter.
Estimator: Estimators calculate costs for construction projects. The average salary for a construction estimator in Canada is $78,161 per year, according to Indeed.
These roles require skills like project management, equipment operation, math, and physical stamina. While a university degree is not required, completion of a college program or apprenticeship can be beneficial. With Canada’s infrastructure needs, the job outlook for construction-related positions looks strong.
Tips for Getting Hired
With the right strategy, you can land a well-paying construction, healthcare, or business operations job in Canada even without extensive experience. Here are some tips:
Look for openings on job sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and local job boards. Many employers are willing to train new hires if you have some basic skills and eagerness to learn. For construction jobs, check union hiring halls as well.
Gain certifications needed for jobs like truck driving, welding, healthcare assistance, and equipment operation. Many quick certification programs are available at community colleges and trade schools. Some construction unions also offer apprenticeships.
Take courses or participate in volunteer work to build up relevant skills. Construction and trucking employers often look for physical stamina, attention to safety, teamwork ability, and reliability. Healthcare roles require compassion and caregiving skills.
In interviews, emphasize transferable skills from past jobs, like punctuality, responsibility, and ability to follow procedures. Show enthusiasm for on-the-job training. Ask questions to demonstrate interest in the field.
With persistence and preparation, it’s possible to break into a well-paid career without years of experience. Focus on building job-related skills and show eagerness to work hard and develop professionally.
Pros and Cons of Pursuing These Career Paths
Pursuing a career path that doesn’t require extensive education or experience has several potential advantages:
Higher salaries without a degree – The jobs highlighted in this article offer above-average salaries despite not needing a university degree. This allows you to earn good pay without taking on the debt and time commitment of higher education.
Less student debt – Skipping the traditional university route means avoiding tens of thousands in student loans. You can get a head start on saving, investing, and planning your financial future.
Potentially more hands-on work – Many of these roles involve active, physical labor and learning technical skills through on-the-job training. This can appeal to those who prefer hands-on work over desk jobs and abstract expertise.
However, there are also some potential drawbacks:
Limited career advancement in some cases – While promotions and pay raises are possible, the career trajectory may be more limited compared to roles requiring higher education.
Can be physically demanding – Construction, healthcare, and trade jobs often involve heavy lifting, long hours, and other physical demands. This may not suit everyone.
Overall, these careers offer good compensation without advanced qualifications, but may lack longer-term advancement and involve taxing physical work.
How to Get the Required Training or Certifications
There are many ways to get the training and certifications needed for these well-paying roles without a university degree. Here are some options:
Vocational and trades schools offer condensed programs focused on teaching you practical skills for a specific career. Popular programs include healthcare certifications, electrical training, and welding. Programs at vocational colleges and institutes typically take 6 months to 2 years to complete.
On-the-job training and apprenticeships allow you to earn as you learn. Many trades and construction jobs start apprentices with minimal experience at entry-level roles and provide training to work up to more advanced positions. Apprenticeships usually last 2-5 years.
Private technical schools and colleges provide certification programs on a flexible schedule, often designed for busy working adults. Programs range from a few weeks for basic certificates to 1-2 years for advanced designations. Course schedules are offered part-time, online, evenings or weekends.
Combining work and training is possible through cooperative education, distance learning, and part-time schedules. Speak to program advisors about your options.
Job Outlook and Demand
The job outlook for trades and healthcare roles requiring minimal education is quite strong across Canada. According to government projections, about 700,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire between 2019 and 2028, creating significant demand for new entrants (source). The construction, manufacturing, and transportation industries have a particularly high need to fill vacant positions.
Major provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec are expected to see the greatest job growth in trades and healthcare support roles in the coming years. When speaking to employers, many report difficulty finding enough qualified candidates to meet their hiring needs. However, it’s important to consider that some manual tasks could potentially be automated or outsourced in the long term, which may limit growth for certain roles.
By starting with in-demand certifications and training programs, job seekers can position themselves to capitalize on the current high demand. Focusing on provinces and occupations with the most promising outlooks can maximize one’s chances of securing full-time work quickly after completing the required education.
Skills Needed to Succeed
To succeed and excel in these high-paying jobs for non-degree holders, you’ll need to demonstrate certain essential skills. Here are some of the top abilities and traits to focus on developing:
Technical skills: Jobs like electrician, plumber, and equipment operator require trade-specific technical know-how. You’ll gain these through formal training programs and certifications. For roles like construction manager and estimator, technical knowledge of building and materials is key.
People skills: Even hands-on roles require strong communication and teamwork. As a personal support worker or dental assistant, you’ll interact closely with patients and need empathy. For customer-facing jobs like pharmacy assistant, people skills are crucial.
Organization and time management: Most of these jobs require juggling multiple tasks efficiently. Construction managers oversee complex projects and schedules. Drivers and operators need to plan routes and meet deadlines.
Ability to work independently: While collaborating with others, you’ll also need to take initiative and be resourceful. Electricians and plumbers often work alone at job sites utilizing specialized skills and judgment.
Detail-oriented: Precision matters in healthcare assisting, equipment operation, and trades roles. You’ll be responsible for closely following protocols and specifications.
Problem solving: When issues inevitably arise, you’ll need to troubleshoot on the fly whether you’re repairing machinery as a mechanic or resolving customer complaints in a service position.
In summary, there are many high-paying jobs in Canada that don’t require extensive education or experience. Top options highlighted in this article include truck driving, welding, construction management, dental assisting, and pharmacy assisting. These roles offer average salaries ranging from $40,000 to over $100,000 annually.
While a university degree is not needed, some training, certifications or relevant skills are required. With proper preparation, these careers provide opportunities to earn good incomes and avoid student debt. The job outlook is strong in many of these fields as well.
For job seekers without a degree, or those looking to change careers, the roles highlighted here deserve consideration. The demand, pay and long-term prospects are promising. With hard work and persistence, landing one of these great jobs is an achievable goal.