6 Skilled Trades That Can Pay 75,000 plus

The smell of Rub-A535 always reminds me of my grandfather.

I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house after school, and he would come home from his construction job, dusty, sweaty, and beat. He’d take out the muscle cream, taking his time to apply it to all the busted parts of his body: the pulled muscles in his back; the throbbing calves and inflamed knees; the sore shoulders and tired arms.

He always finished by rubbing a dab of cream on his right index finger. This was mostly for effect; he’d lost most of that finger in a workplace accident involving a circular saw and a lot of blood.

He’d point the short finger stump at me and ask, “did you do your homework?”

When an oiled-up, barrel-chested man with an Italian accent and a missing finger asks you if you’ve done your homework, you say yes. More importantly, you make sure you actually did it.

My grandfather wanted me to avoid the kind of work he did, mostly, I think, because he thought I was too soft to do it. He wasn’t wrong, nor was he very original. A majority of Canadian youths (59%) say their families have not encouraged them to consider the trades as a career option.

Things, however, are starting to change for skilled trades like my grandfather’s (that is carpenters, welders, plumbers, painters, electricians, roofers, iron workers, construction jobs, and more). For one thing, work conditions and safety standards are much more stringent than they were in his time. Secondly, with changing demographics and increased automation, skilled trade jobs represent one of the largest areas of growth on the Canadian job front.

It’s estimated, for example, that 40% of tradespeople currently in the workforce will retire over the next five to 10 years.  And if this year’s Sunshine List is anything to go on, these jobs also offer an opportunity to make some big bucks.

Here are six in-demand skilled trade jobs that made the cut this year.


  • Carpenter

Payscale salary range: $32,497 – $75,889

Highest Sunshine List salary: $189,343.77

  • Electrician

Payscale salary range: $34,693 – $91,484

Highest Sunshine List salary: $238,285.32

  • Ironworker

Payscale salary range: $41,223 – $88,737

Highest Sunshine List salary: $200,934.43

  • Plumber

Payscale salary range: $33,566 – $85,309

Highest Sunshine List salary: $107,483

  • Welder

Payscale salary range: $33,707 – $85,034

Highest Sunshine List salary: $108,697.67

  • Steamfitter

A steamfitter, by the way, lays out, assembles, maintains, and repairs piping systems.

Payscale salary range: $40,547 – $130,821

Highest Sunshine List salary: $117,939.61


If you’re concerned about the certification and training processes involved with these trades, check out these three jobs that also showed up on this year’s Sunshine List:


  • Bus Driver

Payscale salary range: $25,882 – $65,351

Highest Sunshine List salary: $115,909.87

  • Janitor

Payscale salary range: $22,517 – $45,195

Highest Sunshine List salary: $104,498

  • Waste collection operator

Salary range (from Neuvoo): $35,000 – $70,000

Highest Sunshine List salary: $100,206


What does this all mean? You don’t have to be chained to a desk for eight hours a day to make a great living.

For comfort’s sake, though, make sure to buy some Rub-A535 (just in case).



Article found on Workopolis Written by Sal Ciolfi

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