Maybe you’re not the academic type. Or maybe you’re just not in a place in life where the investment in a university degree makes sense (or is doable). While it can sometimes seem like a bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for every high-paying job or career path, that is definitely not the case.

Here are five jobs that can help you bring home the big bucks – without spending four years in university (although for most – but not all! – you will need some formal training or apprenticeship).


If you excel in sales and have great communication skills, moving into selling higher price tag items can come with a fairly hefty bump in pay, too. You don’t get much higher cost-wise than real estate, which makes this a field that can bring in big money, even when you’re working part time.

What you need: a high school diploma, a real estate training course, and a provincial or territorial license.

Salary range: $36,628 – $120,401

Construction manager

A construction manager plans, coordinates, and supervises construction projects, so you’ll need to be good with budgeting, people, and the ins and outs of construction.

What you need: the skills and experience to show you can manage major projects on time and on budget.

Salary range: $55,164 – $162,078


Hair stylist

If you’re obsessed with finding the perfect cut and colour (and know how to provide an amazing experience for clients), you can make a six-figure income styling hair. If it sounds too good to be true, you’re partially right. Official salaries listed are usually much lower than six-figures, but there is a good reason for that: many stylists make very good tips, which are not always reported accurately.

Of course, to get to the six-figure level, you’ll have to develop a client list, which requires you to build your skills and reputation over time.

What you need: a love (and sense) of fashion, a hair styling training program or apprenticeship, and a provincial or territorial license.

Salary range: $19,805 – $100,000+


If you’ve got a talent for connecting with people, like working nights, and can make a nice drink, you can pull in very good money working as a bartender. Like stylists, bartenders bring in much of their income in tips, so it’s difficult to gauge actual salaries.

If you find a gig in a high-end establishment, you can definitely bring in the equivalent of a $100,000+ salary. Want proof? We have an interview with a server who managed to do just that – and she says the bartender made more than anyone.

What you need: in some provinces or territories you may need a certification like Smart Serve, but otherwise you’ll be relying on your liquor know-how and ability to win over the hiring manager.

Salary range: $20,273 – $100,000+


Software engineer 

Programming is an area where skill trumps a formal education. If you love programming, and develop your knowledge by working on interesting projects, you can carve out a very good career path.

What you need: skill – it can be self-taught, but definitely find a way to get really good at what you do, if you want to turn it into a career.

Salary range: $49,857 – $101,212


See also:

Top 5 high-paying jobs with rising salaries

5 in-demand jobs that can pay more than $80,000



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