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
*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.