8 degrees that lead to the highest-paying jobs in Canada

highest paying degrees in canada
Study marketing, one of the highest paying degrees in canada, and you stand to build a glamorous life too. Source: AFP

Nothing beats the feeling of knowing that you’re on a path to securing a stable career with great financial success.

To achieve this, start by choosing a degree that can help you get one of the highest paying degrees in Canada.

Just this month, Canada’s economy added 39,900 jobs — about twice as many as expected, CBC News report.

It ties in neatly with the federal government’s ambitious immigration target of securing 1.45 million new permanent residents in Canada over the next three years, including 500,000 people in 2025.

Through this, it is hoped that Canadian businesses will have an easier time securing talents in industries such as:

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has also said that targeted draws will be used next year to bring applicants with the most in-demand skills to specific regions where they’re needed.

Canada plans for more immigrants to boost workforce

At a time when industrialised countries globally are dealing with falling birth rates and ageing workforces, Canada is at the forefront of betting on immigration to stave off economic decline. 

In June, the country’s population surpassed 40 million people for the first time — with growth only expected to continue at a rapid pace as it welcomes more immigrant workers, refugees and international students across its borders, Bloomberg reports. 

“If we don’t have immigration, our workforce will not grow,” Anil Verma, professor emeritus of industrial relations and human resources management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, told CBC News

But which among the thousands of jobs in need of foreign workers pay the most?

highest paying degrees in Canada

The average salary of surgeons in Canada can go up to 279,646 Canadian dollars per year. Source: AFP

8 highest paying degrees in Canada 

Salaries for these roles are sourced from employment sites like Indeed. 

1. Medicine

  • Average salary for surgeon: 279,646 Canadian dollars per year

Specialised medicine degrees are known as some of the highest paying degrees in Canada.

A surgeon, for example, has an annual national average salary of CA$279,646, according to the employment site, Indeed. 

Looking at the local labour market needs, many provinces and territories in Canada require physicians and surgeons.

The shortage of trained medical professionals is expected to continue until at least 2031, even accounting for new medical graduates and foreign physicians immigrating to Canada.

To become a surgeon, you’ll need to graduate with a medical degree and complete four to five years of residency, followed by two years of studying a surgical speciality.

highest paying degrees in canada

Director of marketing at Mercedes-Benz Marion Friese on court for the coin toss prior to a match between Tommy Paul of Team World and Casper Ruud of Team Europe during day two of the Laver Cup at Rogers Arena on September 23, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Source: AFP

2. Marketing 

  • Average salary for chief marketing officer: CA$109,196 per year

In today’s online world, digital marketing is one of the best methods to expand the horizons of a business across borders. 

It’s a field that constantly grows and has seen explosive growth since the start of COVID-19. 

While plenty of marketing roles exist, chief marketing officer is considered one of Canada’s highest paying roles.

They oversee a company’s marketing strategies and initiatives — all with the goal of reducing costs while growing revenue. 

A chief marketing officer should be aware of online and offline marketing tactics, such as social media, print advertising and Google ads. 

Most of this knowledge can be acquired through a degree in marketing, communication, business administration or a related field.

highest paying degrees in Canada

A business degree can put you on the same path to success as French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, the chairman and CEO of Kering since 2005, and president of Groupe Artémis since 2003. Source: AFP

3. Business 

  • Average salary for vice president: CA$135,578 per year

Business degrees are undoubtedly one of the highest paying degrees in Canada.

After all, both the US and Canada offer some of the best business school education and future career opportunities in the world. They are also both popular destinations to get an MBA degree.

Acquiring an MBA can be valuable for someone who aspires to be a vice president. As key executives in a company, they help run and manage an organisation’s internal operations.

Think of them as the second or third in command, falling below a president or CEO. 

The job qualification of a vice president can change depending on which industry they plan on working in. 

For example, they may require a vice president of an educational institution to have a four-year college degree in teaching. 

Most vice presidents also tend to have a master’s degree in a particular field of study.

highest paying degrees in canada

British-Canadian cognitive psychologist and computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton, known as the “godfather of AI” speaks with Nick Thompson of The Atlantic (off frame) during the Collision Tech Conference at the Enercare Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on June 28, 2023. Source: AFP

4. Computer science 

  • Average salary for software engineering manager: CA$143,044 per year 

The Canadian Government’s Job Bank predicts that there will be a shortage of computer software engineers over the period of 2022 to 2031 at the national level, making them all the more important in the Canadian job market.

They lead the development and creation of software programmes or applications. 

A software engineering manager is also the point of contact for different departments to ensure the application functions as intended. 

Since they need a solid technical understanding, a degree in system analysis, business administration, computer science, or engineering will greatly aid those who wish to take on this role.

highest paying degree in Canada

Corporate controller performs all the major accounting functions for a company, including budgeting, invoicing, accounts receivable and accounts payable. Source: AFP

5. Accounting

  • Average salary for corporate controllers: $103,056 per year

Corporate controllers handle the financial well-being of an organization.

They perform all the major accounting functions for a company, including budgeting, invoicing, accounts receivable and accounts payable.

Corporate controllers are heads of the financial department and report to a chief financial officer.

They often hold accounting certifications such as Chartered Accounting, Certified Management Accounting or Certified General Accounting.

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration, economics, commerce or a related field may be required.

6. Nuclear engineering

  • Average salary for nuclear engineer: CA$130,704 per year

Nuclear engineering is among the most valuable university degrees in Canada.

As a discipline requiring high levels of specialised proficiency in nuclear energy, professionals in this field are the best paid in the labour market.

Nuclear engineering graduates deal with developing and applying equipment that harnesses nuclear energy. They handle everything from designing operational procedures to constructing, operating, and maintaining nuclear power plants.

Nuclear engineers are also specifically trained in using radioactive material in the industry for energy and in the medical field for medical imaging instruments, such as positron emission tomography scanners and cyclotrons for treating cancerous tumours.

highest paying degrees in Canada

Actuarial science studies involve the use of statistical and mathematical techniques to develop deterministic models for assessing risk. Source: AFP

7. Actuarial science

  • Average salary for an actuary: CA$82,665 per year

If the term actuarial science doesn’t ring a bell, don’t worry.

Behind this mysterious term is a well-kept secret on the Internet: actuarial science is one of the highest paying degrees in Canada.

It has a wide range of applications in different fields, from the insurance and financial sectors to programming and even the health sector.

Actuarial science studies involve the use of statistical and mathematical techniques to develop deterministic models for assessing risk.

Applying actuarial methods in the analysis of risk enables actuaries to make fairly accurate predictions of uncertain future financial events.

The product of this analysis serves as a strong base upon which decisions in sectors such as the insurance and pension sectors are made.

This is what makes actuarial science a very lucrative discipline and a valuable degree for any student looking to secure their financial future.

8. Mining and Mineral Engineering

  •  Average salary for a mining engineer: CA$102,999 per year

Canada’s mining sector is one of the largest globally and plays a significant role in supporting the national economy.

Even without a deep understanding of the field, it’s easy to see why a mining or mineral engineering degree can be one of the most valuable things to study in the country.

Minerals like gold and diamond have a wide range of applications, whether it’s in industry, construction, or for making jewellery and other ornaments.

Others, such as coal, metals, oil, and gas, have a variety of applications in industry as well.

Mining and mineral engineers explore and scout for minerals, design the appropriate extraction methods, oversee the mining process, and coordinate the transportation of the extracted minerals.

They also design and develop the equipment used in mining for optimal efficiency and ensure that safety and environmental regulations are adhered to throughout the mining process.

Depending on the mineral you choose to specialise in, the specifics of your jobs and day-to-day routine can vary.

As technology advances and more efficient equipment comes into the market, mineral exploration activities will only increase — resulting in mining and mineral engineering graduates having more opportunities for better pay.