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Canada’s Best Jobs 2015: University Professor

UPDATED! Click here for 2017’s ranking of Canada’s Best Jobs »
University professor

(Len Rubenstein/Getty)

Median Salary: $85,716.80
Change in Salary (2008–2014): +15%
Total Employees: 65,400
Change in Employees (2008–2014): +5%

Lecturing a bunch of snotty teenagers and swotty know-it-alls can actually be very rewarding. Canadian professors are largely happy with their work, with 75% rating their job satisfaction as “high” or “very high” according to a 2012 study. That’s despite the fact that they work more than their counterparts in other nations with world-renowned universities (50 hours per week on academic activities). And students reciprocate the happy feelings: most respondents to the Canadian University Survey Consortium’s annual survey of student satisfication report they are generally satisfied with the quality of the teaching they receive.

While professors spend a large part of their time in classrooms, the key to career advancement is research citations. Balancing the two types of work can be tough but healthy salaries can make up for it.

How to qualify: To teach, you have to first learn. A doctoral degree in your teaching field of specialization is required, and instructors in technical or regulated fields like law, architecture, medicine or engineering may require additional licenses or professional certifications.

Money: All of the country’s major universities are publicly funded, and university professors make good money compared to many other government workers. Wages vary significantly by field and years of service: top businesses professors can earn as much as half a million dollars a year, while some medical researchers also make mid-six figures. Faculty salaries have risen slower than many other fields in recent years, and with provincial governments squeezing education budgets tough wage negotiations are likely to remain the norm.

Opportunity: Universities and colleges are increasingly relying on sessional instructors working short-term contracts to do frontline teaching, so securing a permanent position isn’t easy. And while the profession has seen steady (if unspectacular) growth overall, the number of university professors actually fell 7.5% last year. But once you reach the top, the rewards are plentiful: tenured professors have significant control over what they teach and can focus more on their research interests.

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