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Oct 3, 2022

The Second-Best Jobs In Canada Not Everyone Can Be A Doctor Or Lawyer

by Richard Morrison

You may have already offered career advice to your children or grandchildren. You may have encouraged them to follow their dreams of being a famous actor, musician, or athlete, or if they appear to have a talent for business, to become the next Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or Warren Buffett. You may hope your progeny enter the lucrative fields of medicine, law, engineering, or computer technology, all of which are obviously solid recommendations.

But they’re not for everyone. Should little Johnny or Janie come up short on that Rhodes Scholarship, here are a few examples of interesting occupations and their salaries. These are positions that may require diplomas or certificates from community colleges or a period of apprenticeship but not necessarily an Oxford degree.

The list omits common jobs that involve working in offices, stores, restaurants, schools, hospitals and construction sites. As well, careers that are just plain weird or those that can only be held by one person—keeper of the Stanley Cup or Prime Minister, for example—have been left out. That said, Wikipedia lists the Prime Minister’s salary as $379,000, citing the Library of Parliament’s Indemnities, Salaries and Allowance pages.

Those not planning to become Prime Minister can tap into job search sites. Since it has the most listings, Indeed (533,385 openings in Canada as of  September, 7) will be cited most often here. Others include Glassdoor (132,433 listings), the federal government’s Canadian Job Bank (104,826 postings), Workopolis (103,836 jobs) and Kijiji (36,120 openings). Monster and ZipRecruiter do not give totals for the Canadian positions they list, while TalentEgg focuses on entry-level and student jobs. Most job search sites feature tests and quizzes to help those who are unsure of which occupations best suit them.

The Great Outdoors:

Canada is a country of rocks, trees and water, as reflected in the abundant job opportunities available in mining, forestry and fisheries. And despite our government’s best efforts, we still produce oil and gas.


The highest paying energy sector occupations that don’t involve sitting at a desk in a corner office are those working on oil rigs. Indeed’s site lists four permanent, full-time openings in Grande Prairie, Alberta, for rig managers, derrick hands and floor hands, at salaries ranging from $60,000 to $200,000 per year. At the other end of the country, four positions are available for experienced drillers on a rig off the coast of St. John’s, Newfoundland, at a salary of $136,000 to $171,000 per year. Colleges teaching drill rig skills include International Oilfield Training Solutions ( in Calgary and Fleming College (, with three Ontario campuses.


The 581 Canadian forestry jobs listed on Indeed’s site as of September 7 were generally well paying, with a half dozen offering wages of $55 an hour or more and 95 others paying more than $35 per hour. The best paying forestry job on Indeed’s site was a position in Alberta as a mechanic to service logging equipment such as loaders, processors and bunchers at an annual salary of $130,000 to $200,000. The same company had a position open for a processor operator in British Columbia at a rate of $100,000 to $140,000. provides a directory of Canadian universities and colleges that offer forestry training.

Forest Firefighter

Since 1990 “wildland” fires in Canada have consumed an average of 2.5 million hectares a year, and fire-prone conditions are predicted to worsen, the Natural Resources Canada site says. This could potentially result in a doubling of the amount of area burned by the end of this century, it adds. Canadian wildland firefighters earn an average of $108,912 per year, with a range of between $73,000 and $163,000 as of May 30, as listed on the Glassdoor site, based on 516 salaries reported anonymously. Along with provincial governments, wildland firefighters are often employed by private contractors, but all forms of forest fire fighting are demanding. Candidates who can qualify for, say, the U.S. Navy SEAL team or Green Berets and know how to deal with bears (yes, that’s part of the training) will probably get in.

Park Ranger

Those who love the outdoors but who lack the physique necessary for fighting forest fires can work as a park ranger, whose duties include enforcing rules, guiding tours and conducting search and rescue missions for missing hikers. Similar jobs include forestry technicians and environmental specialists. In winter, ski resorts such as those in Banff, Alberta, employ expert skiers as park rangers, with a salary estimated on the Indeed site at between $33,800 to $42,800 per year. Ottawa-based Project Learning Tree Canada ( has everything you need to know about park ranger careers.

Marine Occupations

If the land is not to your liking, Indeed lists 447 jobs listed on Indeed as of September 7 in the marine transportation and logistics industry. Employment sites list numerous positions available for ship captains, chief mates, deck hands and watchkeeping mates to work on harvest vessels, oil spill clean-up vessels, dry bulk ships, push boats, bulkers, cruise boats and maintenance barges, just to name a few. Among the best salaries listed was an opening for a captain on a dry bulk ship in St. Catharines, Ont. at $835 per day ($873 per day if the ship unloads itself) and a marine electrician position in Delta, B.C., at an annual salary of $140,000 to $170,000. Those interested in maritime careers should check out, which has a link to ten Canadian institutes and colleges.


Archaeologists and archaeological field technicians don’t necessarily set out in search of artifacts. Many are employed by governments and construction companies whose excavations may inadvertently turn up anything from dinosaur bones to ancient native artifacts or more recent items. Jobs in the field are in high demand, with 105 archaeologist jobs posted on LinkedIn Canada, 68 on Indeed and 47 on Workopolis. Available positions as of September 7 include an archaeological field director at Williams Lake First Nation in British Columbia, listed on Indeed at an estimated annual salary between $83,700 and $106,000, and a senior archaeologist sought by the Splatsin Development Corp. in Enderby, B.C., at $72,700 to $92,100 per year.

Urban Jobs:

Funeral Director/Embalmer

Jobs in the funeral service sector are unlikely to be rendered obsolete by technology. That said, only those with a genuine desire to console and empathize with the bereaved need apply. Funeral directors in Canada earn an average of $53,227, with the highest average base of $77,611 in Winnipeg as of 2020, the Indeed site says. Programs for funeral directors and embalmers are offered at colleges such as Mount Royal University in Calgary, Humber College in Toronto, Nova Scotia Community College or two-year certificate programs such as those offered by the Canadian College of Funeral Service.


Those uncomfortable with embalming humans may consider taxidermy, the art of mounting skins of animals, usually mammals, for display. As of September 7, the Indeed site listed an opening for an experienced taxidermist at a rate of $20.35 to $25 an hour. Those interested in the field should check out the seven-week course at Canada’s College of Taxidermy in McCreary, Manitoba.

Sports And Entertainment:

Professional Hockey Player

Of the 737 NHL players listed on the Spotrac site, Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid is the highest paid, with a contract that pays out an average annual stipend of US$12.5 million. At the other end of the spectrum, 743 players, 48 get the minimum US$750,000 per year, the Spotrac site says.

For women, the Premier Hockey Federation, formerly the Women’s Professional Hockey League, has a six-team roster with a salary cap of US$750,000 for each team of 20 to 25 players. There is no set maximum for a player salary, but there is a minimum contract of US$13,500, said Paul Krotz, the PHL’s senior vice president of communications. As of September 7, 2022, 71 players had signed contracts for the 2022-23 season, of whom 18 had provided consent to disclose their salary information. Among those who’ve given permission for their salaries to be disclosed, Buffalo Beauts defender Dominique Kremer has the highest at US$65,000, including a US$6,500 signing bonus, the league’s site says.

Casino Dealer

A search for a dealer in the Canadian arts, entertainment and recreation industry on Indeed yielded 55 casino positions with titles such as dealer, presenter and card shuffler. Candidates must have good math skills, pass manual dexterity tests for shuffling and riffling and be able to identify potential cheaters. Those with experience may graduate to pit boss, pit manager and floor supervisor positions that involve supervising dealers, handling customer concerns and game issues, with annual salaries in the $44,300 to $77,000 range. Training is offered at private colleges, including Canadian Gaming Casino College ( in Mississauga, Ont.


Those with a fondness for animals and knowledge of their diet and health may become zookeepers, animal handlers or zoo interpreters, but most work in the field is seasonal and therefore temporary. Among available jobs listed on Indeed as of September 7 were zookeepers at the City of Edmonton ($21.42 to $31.10 per hour) and interpreters at the Edmonton Valley Zoo ($18.07 to $22.36 per hour). A few private companies offer positions that involve bringing animals to events, such as animal education team members at The Zoo Crew in Osgoode, Ont. ($17 to $19 per hour) and animal handlers/presenters at Zoo To You in Woodville, Ont. ($16 per hour). Orleans, Ont.-based Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums ( offers further career information.

Freelance and remote work (ìelancingî):

Some businesses may only require help with a specific project. Global sites such as Freelancer, UpWork, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour and connect employers with freelance workers from around the world. On most such sites, the freelance worker registers, details their experience and qualifications, and then bids against other similarly qualified workers to offer their services for the lowest price. The most lucrative projects often require verified accreditation of professional qualifications and a virtual interview. The projects are almost always assigned, worked on, completed and paid for over the internet.

And In Case You Were Wondering… Sex Trade Worker

In 2014 Canada made it illegal to purchase or advertise sexual services or to live on the material benefits from sex work, so there are no official salaries posted anywhere. Nevada is the only U.S. state that permits the world’s oldest occupation, where it is legal in licensed brothels in rural counties. Alice Little, a prolific writer, YouTuber and advocate for sex trade workers who describes herself as America’s most successful legal sex worker, told that in 2017 she booked US$267,000. She did not respond to an email asking for updates on her income.


Richard Morrison, CIM, is a former editor and investment columnist at the Financial Post.