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 just aren’t your thing, maybe one of these underrated jobs are. Because, the kicker? A university degree isn’t required. That’s right, you can still make a decent living in Canada without a post-secondary education with these jobs.
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Average salary range: $35,000 - $75,000Requirements: Different regions vary, but typically all one needs is a high school diploma, non-probationary driver's license that's in good standing with no suspensions and to meet all the standards for a Class "C" license. But, hey, at least you won't have to tackle these commutes.
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Average salary range: $37,000 - $77,000Requirements: 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. It's also a great career for women in tech.
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Average alary range: $56,000 - $143,000Requirements: 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.
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Average salary range: $40,000 - $95,000Requirements: 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.
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Average salary range: $39,000 - $205,000Requirements: As with any job in sales, you need to be plucky 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.
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Garbage Truck Driver
Average salary range: $36,000 - $64,000Requirements: Most companies look for drivers with a DZ license and good communication skills, and your hourly rate ( depends on experience.
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Average salary range: $46,000 - $84,000Requirements: 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.
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Average salary range: $39,000 - $86,000Requirements: 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.
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Average salary range: $42,000 - $102,000Requirements: A high school diploma and a certification in first aid and CPR (at a healthcare 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.
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Average salary range: $37,000 - $76,000Requirements: A high school diploma and 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.
Related: 16 great jobs for women in trades.
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Automotive Service Technician/Mechanic
Average salary range: $31,000 - $77,000Requirements: 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.
See also: 20 ways to cut your car costs.
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Average salary range: $39,000-$91,000OK, you will have to chat with someone to find out what the issue is but once that's out of the way, you can quietly get to work on repairing, maintaining or installing electrical systems, be it in homes, offices or other buildings. Bonus? You don't need a degree to embark on this career path.
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Average salary range: $30,000 - $69,000Requirements: This is where it's at. A master sommelier (just one of 10 jobs with surprising salaries) works at upscale restaurants and is responsible for the wine collection, which means monitoring the state of the wine cellar, and working with chefs to prepare the proper wine pairings. Depending on experience, a sommelier can work without certification and in some cases, travel is required to various vineyards to sample wine. Where do we sign up?
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Nuclear Reactor Operator
Average salary range: $58,000 - $189,000Requirements: Aside from a high school diploma, operators generally 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.
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Average salary range: $41,000 - $91,000Requirements: 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 best jobs for retirees.
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Average salary range: $22,000 - $44,000Requirements: OK, those numbers might look paltry but you need to remember — that's merely the average pay. Technically, it's impossible to say how much a bartender earns, or even average it out, but if you've got a great personality, are a sympathetic listener, and can pour a stiff drink (which might require certification, depending on the employer), this could be ideal. But all the evening and night work could also make it a temporary thing — until something better comes along.
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Average salary range: $38,000 - $93,000Requirements: Entry-level jobs can be stressful — and in many agencies, fast-paced and intense — but it also pays well. Though a degree isn't necessary (it's still encouraged) as this role relies heavily on customer service, communication and a sparkling personality to really do the job right. If you love managing relationships and really enjoy being around people (and talking to them constantly), this may be your ideal gig.
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Average salary range: $24,000 - $37,0Requirements: Like with bartenders, you have to think big picture. So if you're good with people, dealing with customers who aren't so good, and can find a restaurant with big-tipping clientele, you could be made in the shade.
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Average salary range: $24,000 - 215,000Requirements: Yes, there are more struggling thespians than there are global superstars but if Mark Wahlberg, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Tom Cruise have taught us anything, it's that you don't even need a high school diploma to gain fame and fortune.
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Air Traffic Controller
Average salary range: $52,000 - $134,000Requirements: 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, but the bonuses and brilliant benefits make it quite tempting.