AN executive chef at work

10 jobs that can pay from over $60,000 to over $100,000 without a degree

Elizabeth Bromstein|

No university degree? No problem.

Though it’s true that, looking at historical data, people with degrees from academic institutions tend to earn more money, I think this will change in the future. I believe that, as we move into a world where so much information is available online, and job descriptions are increasingly fluid, self-taught skills will increase in value. Apprenticeships and other forms of on-the-job training may also gain popularity beyond skilled trades, as the education system becomes both prohibitively costly and overpopulated. I can’t prove it. But it’s the logical assumption to make.

In the meantime, you can still make a good living without a post-secondary education.

Here is a list of ten jobs you can get without a bachelor’s degree – some of which require college courses or other certification – that pay over $60,000 a year, some of which pay over $100,000.*

Transit driver: $29,529 – $63,480

About: Requirements vary. Toronto’s TTC, which pays $31.40/hr after 24 months, requires a high school diploma, a non-probationary Ontario driver’s licence – Class “G” – in good standing and showing no suspensions. You also must meet all legislated standards governing the issuance of a Class “C” Licence. Driver jobs on Workopolis

Air traffic controller: $37,330 – $143,523

About: It’s commonly known as one of the highest stress jobs in the world. But if you can hack it, you can make a good living. You will need a high school diploma, a basic radio telephone operator’s licence, completion of a NAV Canada training program, and an air traffic controller’s licence. Air traffic controller jobs on Workopolis

Radiation therapist: $39,275 – $94,467

About: You will need a college, hospital or other approved program in diagnostic radiography (for radiological technologists), nuclear medicine technology (for nuclear medicine technologists) or radiation therapy (for radiation therapists). Licensure with a regulatory body is required in all provinces. Certification by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists is required in all provinces except Quebec. Healthcare jobs on Workopolis

Nuclear reactor operator: $23,839 – $151,006

About: You will need a high school diploma. “Power systems operators require completion of a three- to five-year power system operator apprenticeship program, or over three years of work experience in the trade and some college or industry courses in electrical and electronic technology…Power station operators require an apprenticeship program in stationary or power engineering, or several years of work experience in the trade and some high school, correspondence or college courses in stationary or power engineering. Power station operators require a provincial or territorial power engineering or stationary engineering certificate according to class. Control room operators at nuclear power plants require licensing from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.” Nuclear energy jobs on Workopolis

Web developer: Listed at $32,186 – $67,521 – but web developers can make upwards of $100,000

About: A lot of designers and developers are self-taught. Though some companies might ask for a degree, there are no real requirements, except that you be good at what you do. A great developer can make six figures without even a high school diploma. One developer said in a recent CNN article that the programs and the industry change so often that, “If somebody wants to get into this job, it just doesn’t make sense to get a college degree.” Developer jobs on Workopolis

Executive Chef: Listed at $38,903 – $82,286 – though chefs can reportedly make over $100,000

About: High school may be required, along with trade certification – required in every province – management training and lots of experience. I hear there is lots of yelling in kitchens and that chef is a surprisingly high-stress job that not everyone is cut out for. Chef jobs on Workopolis

Realtor: $24,626 – $105,100

About: According to the Economic Research Institute, realtors make an estimated average of $55,000 a year in Toronto, and $52,000 in Vancouver. “That seems low,” says the Globe and Mail, “but it’s because many agents are part-time.” Commercial agents may earn six figures selling one office tower a year. You will need a high school diploma, a real estate training course, and a provincial or territorial licence. Real estate jobs on Workopolis

Plumber: $32,007 – $82,367

About: Usually high school is required, along with a 4-5 year apprenticeship program. Or, a combination of over five years of work experience combined with some high school and college or industry courses. “Trade certification is compulsory in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and available, but voluntary, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.” Plumber jobs on Workopolis

Fire Chief: $50,549 – $139,107

About: Being a fire chief is not for the faint of heart – all those burning buildings. You will need to complete high school and a provincial or municipal firefighters training course. “A minimum of ten years of experience as a firefighter is usually required before becoming eligible for a senior officer position.” Fire fighting jobs on Workopolis

Court reporter: $30,732 – $94,228

About: You will need to attend a court reporting program, which takes approximately two years. Court reporters must be able to type at a speed of at least 225 words per minute with near 100% accuracy on a steno machine. There are only two court reporting schools in Canada that have been registered by the National Court Reporters Association: the CCVS, in Toronto, Ontario, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, in Edmonton, Alberta. Court reporter jobs on Workopolis

Bartender: $18,000 – over $100,000

About: Bartenders don’t necessarily declare their entire income, so it’s impossible to say what they really earn. Suffice to say we’ve all known bartenders who make six figure incomes – and here we have a story about a waitress who did so. Your province may require certification, such as Smart Serve. Other than that, all you need is a winning personality and the ability to pour drinks (some jobs might require to take a course). The better you are, the more you’ll make. You might not want to make a lifetime career out of working nights, though, so this may be a temporary thing. Bartending jobs in Workopolis

Workopolis now has the most hospitality jobs of any website in Canada. Check out the numerous positions available right now.

*Note also that you can earn a lot of money without a degree in other professions – there are writers, editors, project managers and people in all sorts of professions who don’t have degrees and do quite well – but you’d be the exception rather than the norm. That’s why we didn’t list those professions.

See also:
Confessions of the $100,000 waitress
Hiring trends: Ten hot jobs for increased starting salaries in 2015
The 10 best jobs for 2015 that pay over $90K

Category: Latest News & Advice
  • friendlyprogrammer

    Why not just say any job with a Union where you can blackmail the public for higher wages. I’ve lost two good jobs because of transit strikes over the years.

    • Josh

      I’m sorry you lost two jobs. You know, if you’d been part of a union, your bosses wouldn’t have been able to fire you from those jobs over something uncontrollable like a transit strike. Those are the kind of protections unions fight for.

      • orest


        • orest


          • Guest


      • anon27


    • Bill Stevens

      How about each country properly tax Corps. globally instead? Hiding profits and taxable assets in offshore shell companies, just doesn’t cut it. Public money is also hidden in those offshore accounts, creating NO jobs as they were intended.

      Canada misses out on 9 billion a year, because of this endless cycle of nonsense. Not only do we not collect our taxes, we give them MORE public funds. They must have to fight hard to hold back their laughter!

      Unions are the only thing that stops these megacorps from having us all work for $7 an hr, living in warehouses with 1000s of other serfs.

  • Guest

    Alarm representatives $60,000-$225,000 100% quota
    150% quota $90,000 :large size with high subscriptions fees.

  • ♪ಠ_ಠ♬MaRiE[+ — ••]

    Every time I read something on workopolis I hope to find out something that will help me with my employment problems but every single time, it just confirms that I, as a person, am nothing that bosses are looking for. That nobody will ever want to hire me and give me good conditions. Quite depressing.

    • Kwasi Ofosu

      No true , you need to decid what you want to do with your life, if you feel like you don’t meet their standards , than find out how

    • Alexander

      man you just need a kick in the right direction and a little bit of motivation, an attitude like that wont do good 4 u in the long run, be positive and ready for your days to come, dont wait just do positively. and if this page doesnt give u ideas, dig deeper.and hey thats comin from a 15 year old! just gain courage and confidence

  • Brian Winch

    Consider a simple parking lot litter cleanup service as an occupation. Most people don’t want to clean up after others. That’s fine! More money for those of us that do. I’ve been cleaning up litter from commercial properties for over 30 years – and making a six figure income doing it. You don’t need expensive equipment or rented space. Simple hand tools and a home based office are all you need. Go to for the details.

  • Keeley Hannah Capel

    Hi, my name is keeley and i live in england and im looking for a job in canada.If anyone knows were i can find a job or somthing please send me an email:
    Thank you

    • Andew

      Keeley, I guess it all depends on what you are looking for. Different areas of the country are in different states, job wise.

  • Jane Democracy

    Radiation therapist does require a degree… at least in BC anyway! Also if you notice … there aren’t any job postings.

  • bizzer

    Why worry about a boss and losing a job? Produce the same effort and energy while making money for yourself by helping others do the same. Go to the link below and see how.

  • Tutor Hero

    An undergraduate degree in Canada is losing its value. It is not as competitive as 10 years ago. Many graduate students find themselves in a shame situation when they cannot find a job that match their skills. We’ve written this lately:

    We find that it is the best for university students to find flexible tutoring job to lower their debt. Take action, prove you are more than a dipolma and foster next generation’s education. Our door is always welcome to high achiving university stydents in Canada:

  • Tutor Hero

    An undergraduate degree in Canada is losing its value. It is not as competitive as 10 years ago. Many graduate students find themselves in a shame situation when they cannot find a job that match their skills. We’ve written this lately:

    We find that it is the best for university students to find flexible tutoring job to lower their debt. If you are in the same shoe as these students. It is best to take action, follow your gut, prove you are more than a dipolma and foster next generation’s education. Our door is always welcome to high achiving university stydents in Canada:

    • alyxlili4health

      Not if you work for the federal government, any number of which departments only require an undergraduate degree. Loads of my colleagues earn upwards of 80-100K with a simple undergraduate degree

  • Darren K

    I have found it next to impossible in 2 months of looking to change careers. I am a red seal toolmaker with many transferable skills yet I cannot even get looked at. Employers seem to want someone with 1-5 experience in their required field and if you don’t have even 1 then forget it. So how I ask are you supposed to get in if they leave no openings.

  • Tatsume

    im sitting here what to do with my life when there are so many options but its pretty hard to find what you like when your Parents just keep giving you pressure and keeps telling you that you will end up poor . that asian parent support,

    • El_Tabadour

      Actually, your parents are correct. You need to star early and do something. Anything. You need to start early so you don’t end up poor when you’re old. Base on the trajectory of the world, greed and rise in population will continue to make life even more expensive with time. Look at even the past 30 years. Things have already gotten out of hand. Decide on something and try it out. Go back to school and do something else every couple years if you still don’t know what to stick with for the long term. Doing nothing is the worst thing you can do.

  • Dana

    Your bartending/restaurant industry point is especially true, tips do make a healthy supplement to a person’s income. I served over the summer and it covered my tuition+rent costs (and more) for an entire semester of university, actually. I actually just wrote about the experience on my own blog, for anybody who is curious specifically about restaurant work. You’re writing great stuff, Elizabeth :)

  • Daniela V Pir

    If you wanna continue down this route … you could also list “stripper”. Some make 6 figures a year.

  • Phillip Lorish

    As a radiation therapist, I feel it’s safe to say you would be hard pressed to find a job without a degree (not that you can get one with a degree these days). The only one on the workopolis website right now requires one.