Many people assume that they need to land executive positions to make over $100,000 a year. Perhaps surprisingly, many professional-level roles also pay well — especially if you’re experienced. 

We’ll explore nine of the best-paying jobs in Canada in this brief guide. Some of them require college degrees; others are accessible to anyone with a little talent and determination.

Smiling woman receptionist standing next to hotel reception desk.
Smiling woman receptionist standing next to hotel reception desk.

quality assurance manager

In simple terms, quality assurance managers and quality control engineers in the manufacturing sector make sure products meet spec. They supervise other members of staff, monitor product development and work with clients and end users to ensure that products perform well in the real world. 

Most quality assurance managers have a background in engineering or manufacturing and a science-based or business-based college degree. Many quality assurance managers and quality control engineers in Canada start on a $75-100K salary. The more experience they gain, the more they are paid.

cloud architect

Cloud architects build virtual infrastructure. The cloud-based platforms they build support other apps — Dropbox, or SaaS programs, for instance — so they need to be stable, scalable, accessible and secure. Cloud architects work with other tech professionals, including programmers and end users, to ensure that the platforms they build are both intuitive and useful. 

Some cloud architects are self taught, but most have computer science degrees and other certifications. In the tech sector, many cloud architects make between $100K and $130K a year. That does depend on the employer, though — and again, it usually increases with experience. 

product owner

Product owners — also known as agile product owners, scrum product owners or POs — play an important role in the development lifecycle. They wear many hats on a day-to-day basis, and have to know a little bit about every product development stage. They also need to have good communications skills, because they’re the first point of contact for stakeholders. 

Product owner salaries in the tech sector begin in the mid-to-high $70K-per-year range, and increase to $100K per annum with experience. Some organizations offer higher starting salaries than others. 

business analyst 

You can potentially earn $80,000 to $115,000 per year in Canada if you pursue a career as a business analyst. These IT professionals develop, administer and test companies' servers, systems, hardware and software. To become a business analyst, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in IT, computer science or a related field.

The prospects are good for new business analysts in Canada, with ample job opportunities across the country.

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IT manager

IT managers oversee teams or departments of technical employees, including information systems, networking or help desk professionals. Compensation depends on what type of team you lead and the size of the team and the company you work for. Generally, larger enterprises offer opportunities for the highest earning capabilities, and that does include positions that pay more than $100k annually.

As more businesses move to fully digital services, opportunities for IT managers in Canada will continue to increase.

data scientist

Data scientists analyse trends and help solve problems. In a nutshell, they’re data visionaries: they take raw information and use modeling, analytics and historical statistics to forecast trends, track anomalies and make predictions about business-related growth and decline. Executives make big decisions based on calculations made by data scientists. Most data scientists have math, science, statistics or computer science degrees. 

Data scientists perform vital work, and they’re rewarded well for it. Salaries begin at about $80K and rise to $105K depending on the company. Again, compensation increases with experience.

site supervisor

Site supervisors in the engineering sector evaluate construction sites, appraise hazards, and develop and administer safety programs and inspections. They work closely with other professionals and construction personnel on site, so they have to have great interpersonal skills. They have to be able to explain complicated concepts in layman’s terms.

Some site supervisors come up through the ranks, while others have degrees or college diplomas in civil engineering or construction technology. Salaries for site supervisors begin at the mid $70K to mid $80K range. After five years, many site supervisors make more than $100K.

purchasing manager

Also called procurement managers, engineering purchasing managers direct and organize the purchasing activities of their employers. They craft purchasing policy, hire and supervise purchasing department employees, identify potential vendors and pursue claims when things go wrong. Most purchasing managers have a background in economics and a degree in business administration or commerce.

Many purchasing managers make between $90K and $95K when they first start working in the engineering sector. Salaries go up with experience, and after three or more years, you can expect to take home about $100K per annum.

mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers work in various sectors, including automation, manufacturing, automotive and aerospace industries. In simple terms, they design, develop, test and optimize mechanical devices and related components. Some mechanical engineers specialize in tiny machines, while others work on enormous engines. You’ll need to obtain a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) or a similar degrees to become a mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers tend to make between $72K and $90K per year when they first start working for their employers. Most organizations will pay experienced mechanical engineers more than beginners — so industry experts can expect to make $100K or more after a few years.

finance controller

Finance controllers head accounting departments, where they prepare financial reports, draft statements, monitor cash flow, create balance sheets and generally manage their employers’ finances. Finance controllers frequently work in tandem with company executives, including chief financial officer, and they usually have accounting degrees. 

Starting salaries for controllers in the finance sector are sometimes over $100K. Candidates with a lot of experience in the finance and accounting industries can expect to take home as much as $150K a year.

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