Top Salaries for Skilled Trades in Canada – 2019

With university degrees at all time highs and students in university programs racking up huge amounts of debt, trades programs are an attractive option for people wanting stable, well paying careers.

Learn more about salary expectations in Canada before you decide which trade to pursue in 2019!


Salary range: $32,497 – $75,889

Involves cutting, shaping and installation of building materials during the construction of buildings, ships, timber bridges, concrete formwork, etc


Salary range: $34,693 – $91,484

A person skilled in electrical wiring of buildings, transmission lines, stationary machines, and related equipment


Salary range: $41,223 – $88,737

An Ironworker fabricates and erects the structural steel framework of pre-engineered metal buildings, single and multi-story buildings, stadiums, arenas and many other structural projects


Salary range: $33,566 – $85,309

A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable water, sewage and drainage in plumbing systems. Plumbers can work in commercial and residential projects.


Salary range: $33,707 – $85,034

Welders use a variety of welding processes to join and sever metals. Wire process operators use wire feed welding processes and work primarily in production environments in many different structural projects.


Salary range: $40,547 – $130,821

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

Automotive Service Technician:

Salary range: $40,000 – $95,000.

Automotive Service Technicians perform preventative maintenance, diagnose problems and repair vehicle systems including engines, vehicle management, hybrids, steering, braking, tires, wheels, drivetrains, suspension, electrical, electronics, heating, ventilation and air conditioning on vehicles.

HVAC Technician:

Salary range: C$32,038 – C$85,656

An HVAC technician installs, maintains, and repairs heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems in both residential and commercial structures.

As always – check out to find the latest openings in these fields

Tips for Finding a Career in the Canadian Construction Industry

Construction in Canada is booming. If you love working with your hands, or in a career that centers around building/fixing physical structures, then there is no reason to wait and ponder your next steps. Get started now!

With unemployment at an all time low and media outlets proclaiming the severe shortage of skilled trades people in the construction industry, it can be frustrating and overwhelming for some people who still can’t find a position, or don’t know where to start. We’re here to help!

If you have the skills and experience (a journeyman or equivalent) in a specific field, but still can’t find a position in your area, it might mean that you may have to start looking elsewhere in your province for a well paying job (use our search function on to help find jobs in your area). There are positions out there for you! You might just have to start expanding your geographical search.

If you’re starting from scratch, the all important first step is to get a sense for what kind of trade or skill you would most enjoy doing on a daily basis. Or conversely, you can look at the salary averages for common construction jobs, or current job openings in the area you want to live (although these things fluctuate). One way to get a sense of the day to day of a specific construction career is to read more of our featured career’s of the week, or to reach out to someone in the career you’re considering and ask about the pros and cons of their job.

Usually people who are passionate about their work are keen to share their experience, and people in the career that you’re interested in can save you a lot of time, energy and money by giving you advice.

After you’ve narrowed down your search into the specific field or trade that you’re interested in, we recommend researching about Government programs that are there to help you through your education and apprenticeships. The Canadian Government is very keen on helping people find jobs in the construction and skilled trades fields, so be sure to take advantage of these if they apply to you. Find out more here.


The next step is either to begin basic safety training and certificates such as WHMIS, diver training (if applicable) and other basic workplace safety training. More information on construction safety standards can be found here, and here.

Once basic safety training is completed, someone interested in looking for a position in the construction industry can either begin in classroom training and the formal apprenticeship process if something specific interested you, or if you’re still not sure about which skill you want to pursue then we would recommend pursuing a labourer position or something equivalent to begin the workplace experience.

Nothing will truly prepare you for what it’s like on a work site other than working on one daily. This will give you a first-hand look at the different trades and what kind of work they do. It will also help you get your foot in the door in the industry and gain experience that will help you if you decide to pursue another skilled trade. But above all, it will get you working and on your way to a successful career in construction!

As always, make sure to check in on for the latest careers in your area!


What did we miss? Get in touch at to share your experience!

Featured Career of the Week: HVAC Technician!

This week’s featured job is one that will continue to offer reliable and high paying work in Canada: HVAC Technician!

This career is one that we take for granted, because the heating and cooling of a home is something a layman may not think about regularly. But let me tell you, when a component of the heating/cooling system of your home malfunctions — it is massively inconvenient, especially when you live in an more extreme environment.


HVAC technician is an umbrella term that includes a number of more specialized fields include: Installer, Service Technician, Energy Efficiency Specialist and many others. For our purposes today we will be going over the more general field of HVAC Technician.


HVAC, for those who don’t know, stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. Sometimes R (for refrigeration) is included, but for our purposes we’ll stick to typical HVAC for now. Essentially being an HVAC Technician is the maintenance and installation of the systems that maintain the quality of the air and the correct temperature of your home (the control systems). The air quality and temperature controls are obviously an integral part of any residential home, but are also important in any structure.

HVAC technology is in apartment buildings, hotels and senior living facilities, medium to large industrial and office buildings such as skyscrapers and hospitals, on ships and submarines, and in marine environments, where safe and healthy building conditions are regulated with respect to temperature and humidity, using fresh air from outdoors.

All of these structures need people with the expertise to install, maintain and replace the systems that control the air temperature and quality. It should be obvious now that this job isn’t going anywhere! The technology is changing, and the job requires an aptitude for constant learning and improvement. This career is great for people who love learning!

There are a number of components involved in HVAC systems, and if you enjoy the technical skills of mechanical engineering, you will appreciate the knowledge of HVAC technicians and possibly be interested in this line of work.

Being an HVAC Technician takes a deep knowledge of the laws of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer. Someone who loves learning about mechanical systems and loves problem solving, will do well as an HVAC technician.

As mentioned before, HVAC technicians are paid well, the median salary in Canada is about $65,000 and salary can go above $100,000 for more specialized technicians. The career is a stable one. The technology will change and Technicians will have to adapt, but there will always be a need for skilled professionals to maintain HVAC systems.

An HVAC technician also is able to finish the day knowing that they made a significant impact in people’s lives, while also spending time in engaging and complex work. The sense of accomplishment is reported as part of this job that people love the most!

Educational resources

The standards of HVAC Technicians are extremely high. Certificate programs (which typically take one year or less) or diploma programs (which are usually two years long) can prepare you for an entry-level position as an HVAC installer or service technician.

I encourage you to visit, which offers some great insights into the HVAC fields and many others.

Dalhousie University Certificate Program — Halifax

Pre-Apprenticeship Training — Toronto

BCIT — School of Energy

Durham College


Centennial College — Toronto

As always, check out Work In Trades for the latest careers in Skilled Trades, Project Management, Engineering and much more!

This Week’s Featured Career: Ironworker!

this week we feature another career that often flies under the radar. Being an Ironworker means that you are continuing a long legacy of hard working, highly skilled individuals who help build some of the most monumental structures that we see today.

We can thank Ironworkers for the structural integrity of skyscrapers, bridges and other infrastructure projects that we take for granted!



Being an Ironworker means your help build structures that last for centuries.

As the name suggests, Ironworkers fabricate and erect (and dismantle) the structural steel framework for different reinforced building projects. Ironworkers are involved in everything from buildings, stadiums, arenas, hospitals, towers, wind turbines, bridges and many many other significant infrastructure projects.

Being an Ironworker is dangerous and involves many risks, so being safety is paramount on job sites. Ironworkers are often high above the ground using welding and other heavy tools for hours at a time. Even when they are grounded, Ironworkers are constantly moving heavy material (steel and equipment) and therefore are at risk.

Project coordinators and Ironworkers themselves are much more conscious of the risks than they were in the early years of structural Ironworking. In fact, in the early 1900’s, Ironworkers suffered the highest risk of on the job injury. To mitigate the ever present risk, In 1896, the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers was formed to improve work conditions. Things have changed, and risks now are now more related to over work, rather than lack of safety precautions. Conditions have improved and the union continues to support workers and improve conditions. It is one of the oldest trade associations in the world.


Ironwork is mostly defined using three categories:

Structural Ironwork: Structural Ironworkers are the tradespeople that position and install the massive steel girders and beams that make form the basis for massive projects such as bridges and skyscrapers

Reinforcement Ironwork: Using hand tools and cutting torches, the Reinforcement Ironworkers form and the inside of the concrete forms that make up the base and walls of structures. Their work is hidden, but without it structures would not stand as they do!

Ornamental Ironwork: The Ornamental Ironworker, or the “finishers’ form and install the steel that are used after the structure is complete — think handrails, curtain walls and other finishing touches.

Fabricating: Often called “Shop Ironworkers, these folks are the ones who mold and create the support beams and other premade components of a structure.


Pay scale:

Wages start at around minimum wage and can get up to $50 an hour for a journeyman Ironworker, with overtime pay higher. On an annual basis, wages range between $35,000 to well over $100,000 with more experienced journeyman ironworkers.


The term of apprenticeship for an ironworker-structural/ornamental tradesperson is either three or four years depending on the province. This included a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and 6 weeks of technical training each period.


A great resource if you’re interested in becoming an Ironworker is the Union Website


Trade Secrets Alberta

BCIT Ironworker Program

SAIT Ironworker Program


Ontario College of Trades

As always — check out to find the most recent Ironworker jobs!

This week’s featured career: Heavy Equipment Operator!

A Heavy Equipment Operator is what many kids (including a young me) think of as their dream job. You operate the coolest machinery, and often make the biggest physical impact of a job site.


The Basics

Operators work the equipment that moves what needs to be moved in order for something to be built. Job sites include anything from building/maintaining major housing project to roads, bridges or other major infrastructure projects.

As well as operating the machinery, this career requires some basic mechanics training that allows the operator to perform maintenance and quick fixes on a daily basis.

One of the great things about working heavy equipment is that your work is immediately visible and satisfying. You can see the effect of your work on a daily basis, and your work will be visible long after you have moved on.


Heavy Equipment Operators are always needed, and you can continue to get better and better at your craft by constantly operating under different conditions that requires serious focus. It’s not an easy career, and it’s not for everyone.

The stakes are high in this career, and operators need to be on their A game constantly in order to perform well. If a desk job or a dead end job is what you want, then look elsewhere, because heavy equipment operators are required to be razor sharp and constantly engaged. The job can be dangerous, and often operators making the most money are are in the northern parts of Canada and work extraordinary long hours at a very high rate of pay.


Pay Scale

Once again, the pay for heavy equipment operators varies on level of training, experience and location. In a general sense, pay of heavy equipment operators vary between $40,000 — $80,000 annually. This can go up to $130,000 — $150,000+ annually in some places in Canada with lots of experience and overtime pay.


After deciding that you want to become an operator, you’ll need to figure out what sort of equipment you’d like to operate and then start working on the relevant certification/qualifications.

Because of the skills needed are very specialized, you need to specify which types of machines you’d prefer and then work towards the necessary qualifications through in class theory, hands on training then a 2–6 year apprenticeship. The qualifications also are heavily dependent on safety training, as the job can be dangerous to yourself and others.


Different types of equipment include: Backhoes, Wheel loaders, Bulldozers, Excavators, Road graders, Dump trucks, Skid steers and many others. Many programs include training on all of these machines and a technical certificate requires proficiency across all of these machines.

The training is quite technical, as there is a lot of knowledge required. There is a reason why these careers are in high demand, as the number of qualified applicants is few relative to the openings available.


ITA B.C. — Vancouver

Trades Training B.C.

IHE Training School

Vancouver Island University

Heavy Equipment College of Canada — Kitchener Ontario

TTCC — Barrie Ontario

Featured Career of the Week: Carpenter!

Happy Monday! Welcome to another edition of Featured Career of the Week!

This week’s featured career is a Carpenter!

Most of us have a general understanding of the Carpentry profession. But for those who don’t, that’s why we’re here!


Carpenters construct, service and repair structures made of wood, steel and other wood substitute and building materials.

Sounds pretty general? Well, it is.

Carpenters plan things to build, and then build them. That being the case — the job involves many different components and can vary greater depending on the type of job, or the niche of the trade.

Generally speaking, Carpentry jobs a broken into three categories:

In residential jobs, carpenters crib the basement; build the house framework, walls, roof, exterior and interior finishes; and install doors, windows, flooring, cabinets, stairs, handrails, paneling, moulding and ceiling tiles.

In commercial or industrial jobs, carpenters specialize in building concrete forms, scaffolding, bridges, trestles, tunnels, shelters, towers and other structures.

In maintenance jobs, Carpenters repair and remodel existing structures of all kinds.


Carpenters are involved in physically demanding work and often work long hours. They also need to be extremely detail orientated and organized, as the planning component is often the most important part of the job.

Right now, Carpenters are being heavily recruited right across Canada, so this is the time to be a Carpenter or get into the trade. Carpenters can work plenty of overtime, or choose to work a typical 40 hour work week.

Working conditions can be dangerous and strenuous, but often the combined physical labour and complex planning makes for a dynamic work environment and keeps things interesting.

One of the aspect of being a Carpenter that some people don’t realize or think about is that carpentry can be a wonderfully first step into bigger and better things within the construction industry, including Project Management or Construction Engineering.


Also, with more experience, a Journeyman Carpenter can specialize into finishing carpentry, which typically is better paid, or into other specialized woodworking fields.

Check out for new Carpenter Jobs being posted every week!

Pay Scale:

Depending on where you are in Canada, the rate of pay for Carpenters varies. The typical range is between $15-$22 per hour for entry level Carpenters and between $28-$42 per hour for more experienced Carpenters who typically have journeyman status.


To become a journeyman carpenter, your apprenticeship will be either 3 or 4 years and will include both in class work and on the job experience. Like most trades, you can get paid while you learn.


Humber College — Toronto

Saskatchewan Polytechnic — Regina

Algonquin College — Ottawa

BCIT — Vancouver

ITA — Vancouver

NAIT — Edmonton

Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology — Winnipeg

Featured Career of the Week: Plumber

Being a plumber in Canada in 2018 is not what many assume. Like most trades, or any career for that matter — the life of a plumber varies widely depending on level of experience, type of work involved and location. It is an extremely diverse and complex job, with years of training involved.

Plumbers are extremely important. One of the pros of being a plumber is that you get to be the person that fixes immediate problems that others simply can’t. Quality workmanship as a plumber means that a building or water system functions as it should, and the direct health and safety of building occupants is in your hands.

Plumbers typically categorize their work between commercial and residential plumbing. Once again, the job varies widely and depending on the site. However, you will certainly be doing more than unclogging sewers, lavatories and water installations.

As a Plumber, you will be in charge of diagnosing issues (using pressure systems to locate issues), keeping track of inventory, recommending plans for building inspections/plan approval and maintaining all physical components of a building structures water internal water systems and piping. There are too many specific components of the job to list here, but suffice it to say there are a lot of components to the job.

There is a lot to know, and the industry is constantly evolving — this requires that you have to be a quick learner and be able to adapt and change. Being a plumber means that you are required to evolve and adapt as the industry changes.


Your hands will get dirty, and you will be working long hours, sometimes on evenings and weekends. You will sometimes be the hero, especially in residential jobs. Sometimes you will be working long hours, in dirty work and chaotic circumstances.

To be successful in this career, you must be able to solve complex problems, work irregular hours in physically demanding work. The work changes, and no two jobs are exactly the same. The pay is good, and in today’s booming construction sector, plumbers will always be in demand!

Pay scale

Like any trade, pay rate fluctuates with experience. One of the nice things about becoming a plumber is that you can earn a decent living while learning the skill. Journeyman Plumbers typically earn between $30 and $59 an hour, or $54,000 — $74,000 annually. However, it is not uncommon for experienced plumbers to earn +$100,000 annually under the right circumstances.

Education requirements

Becoming a journeyman Plumber requires a high school diploma or equivalent, then an apprenticeship program of about 9000 hours, or about 4.5 years. Apprenticeship programs involve mostly on the job training, but also requires classroom work.

Here are some recources and programs to get you started!

Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating

Ontario Plumbing Inspectors Association Inc. is a good source for courses and education material.

Camosun College

Trades Training BC

Academy Canada

Good luck! And checkout to find your next career in plumbing and other skilled trades!

Featured Career of the Week: Construction Project Manager

As everyone knows, or no doubt has heard, jobs in Canada’s booming construction and skilled trades sectors are in high demand. They are also well paid. So, we’ve decided to highlight different career choices that are not only highly in demand right now, but are also engaging and satisfying work.


We will do this on a weekly basis with the intention of helping people find fulfilling, high paying jobs. In each segment, we will discuss general work duties, pay range, and education requirements (see our trades school page to find resources there).

Good luck! We hope this helps you in your job search.

We’ll kick this segment off with one of the most in-demand and high paying careers the construction and building sector — Construction Project Manager.

General Description

The Project Manager of a job site — also called General Contractor, Construction Project Coordinator, Construction Site Manager, Construction Project Superintendent, Construction Superintendent or simply Project Manager — is tasked with the responsibility of seeing the project through to completion. Often for large job sites, Junior Project Managers will be in charge of a specific component of the build, and report to a Senior Project Managers.

The Project Manager is typically involved in almost every aspect of the build in a day-to-day management capacity, and are the “boots on the ground” for high level management that sees the project through to completion. This means that not only is the Project Manager responsible for the projects’ completion, they are also responsible for the safety of the crews, budget considerations and the legal requirements in the given area.


Some of the key components of a project are budgeting, logistics and personnel requirements, and the success of a build is largely dependent on the Project Manager making sure these components are running efficiently and effectively.

As well as directly managing skilled trades people, the Project Manager often works with Architects, Designers, Engineers, and any other professional who plays a role in the development of the building.

This position is suited for people who can delegate, keep people motivated and working effectively, and manage the inevitable issues that arise from managing complex projects with many unforeseeable variables. The Project Manager needs to be calm and logical under pressure, as well as a great communicator and team leader.

Pay Range

In Canada, the average salary for a Construction Project Manager is $92,140 per year or $47 per hour. Senior Project Managers with lots of experience managing large projects can make more than $129,000.


Being a highly complex role, the Project Manager position requires a university degree in Civil Engineering or a college diploma in construction technology (or equivalent). Pay will increase as workers accumulate on the job training and skills. Some quality project management related programs/courses are:

UBC: Project and Construction Management (Department of Civil Engineering )

Algonquin College: Construction Project Management (College Graduate Certificate)

Centennial College: Construction Management

Interested in a career in Construction Project Management? Find recent openings here

How to Create an Effective Job Post in Construction, Project Management or Engineering.

Qualified skilled applicants are hard to come by these days. To attract the right people to your job openings, you need to differentiate yourself from all the rest by writing a job posting that makes people want to work for you.

Here are some tips to make your listing stand out:

  1. Be descriptive.

When people go on to your post, they want to know what is involved in the job, what specifically they will be working on and what the expectations of a successful applicant looks like. Don’t skimp on the details, as it looks unprofessional and will drive people away.

Things to include: what a typical work day looks like, what the benefits of working there are and maybe even some reviews and feedback from current employees in similar positions. Again, people want to know what they’re getting into.

Qualified applicants will have many choices when it comes to employment, so this is an opportunity to differentiate the position and company. Always include more detail than less.

2. Include all qualifications and location constraints

This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised about how many people do not include all qualifications necessary and any locational restrictions that might apply.

Be sure to include all of these, as it is a pain when applicants find out that they do not qualify as a result of misinformation on a job post. It also makes your job as an employer increasingly difficult when you get a flood of applicants that do not meet the specific criteria of the job.

Save yourself the trouble and be clear on what qualifications/certificates/training is necessary to successful hiring

3. Include something about company culture and mission

On Work in Trades, we have a specific section where companies can fill out company information/goals and mission statement. Make sure to include this information. Again, this is the place to convince applicants that your company is where they should work.

Things to mention: That your company is an equal opportunity employer, that you offer perks of benefits, if you strive for a healthy and safe work environment or are certified in safety conditions requirements for a state/province. All of that good stuff that are no brainers for quality company management, be sure to include.

If you really want to hire quality employees in this sector, especially a career that requires years of experience, you will have to offer something that other companies won’t. Give your potential new hire a reason to come to a potentially new province or part of the country in order to work for you.

Are you in a unique location that offers a number of amenities or activities? Mention that. Are you in a location that has cheaper housing? Definitely include that.

Also, at Work in Trades we have a “highlight your job” section where you can differentiate yourself from the crowd by highlighting your job in yellow! This has been proven effective for bringing more traffic to your posts.

And there you have it! With these tips more people will be attracted to your post, and you will have better success in your hiring process!

Ready to post? You can do so here.