Best Jobs

The Top 8 Jobs in Education: Canada’s Best Jobs 2016

Teaching students can be very rewarding for those with the passion—but beware high barriers to entry, especially in post-secondary settings

UPDATED! Click here for 2017’s ranking of Canada’s Best Jobs » Canada’s Best Jobs 2016: The Top Jobs in Canada
Teacher at chalkboard, lots of hands up


Canada’s educational services industry added about 38,000 jobs from 2014 to 2015. Top positions in our 2016 ranking of Canada’s Best Jobs include University Professor (No. 37) and Post-Secondary School Administrator (No. 41).

Mark McGowan wears two of these hats, as both a Professor of History and senior academic advisor to the Dean, International at the University of Toronto. “It was pretty tough” he says of his initial attempts to get work as a tenured history professor. “When I received my doctorate from U of T in 1988, there were just no jobs. What a young PhD had to do at that time was basically what I call the ‘serf and turf’ route. That is, you work like a serf in an institution, and then you get turfed, and then the next contract comes around.”

Later in his career, he assumed different administrative positions at the university. “Historically, many academic administrators, they’re selected from the ranks of the professoriate within the institution,” he explains. But that’s not always the case: “Usually, a signal to me is, if an institution really wants to change what it’s been doing in a certain portfolio, they mount a broad, international search for an administrator,” he says. His ultimate view on post-secondary work in the humanities? “It’s good work if you can get it,” he laughs.

Lindy Sumner-Smith has worked as an elementary school teacher for the Peel District School Board (No. 72 on the Best Jobs Ranking) for over 20 years. Though many of the challenges have remained the same, she says technology is slowly taking on a prominent role in classrooms.

“I already do coding with the whole school,” she explains. Formerly in charge of the school’s library, the area has now been renamed the “learning commons.” “Books are a very minor part of it now,” she says. “We do a whole bunch of hands-on learning, lots of codings, lots of apps. You can’t try to catch up—you need to be at the front.”

For those considering pursuing a career in elementary education, she says passion is key. “Why do you want to go in there?” she asks. “If it’s because you think it’s a good job, there’s a good pension, that kind of thing, don’t do it. You’re not needed— that’s not what you go into teaching for. If you think that you can offer something and that you really want to pass on something, then it’s for you.”

* Demand Outlook is the estimated demand for employees in that category by 2021:
 = more than 1 job per job seeker
 = about 1 job per job seeker
 = less than 1 job per job seeker

Job RankJob TitleMedian SalaryWage Growth5-year employment growthOutlook*Job listings by Indeed
33Education Policy Researcher$76,565 19%14%Search Education Policy Researcher job listings
37University Professor$87,277 21%1%Search University Professor job listings
40School Principal & Adminstrator$94,994 11%0%Search School Principal & Adminstrator job listings
41Post-Secondary School Administrator$94,286 18%-24%Search Post-Secondary School Administrator job listings
55College Instructor$71,760 14%13%Search College Instructor job listings
70Secondary School Teacher$78,853 13%-11%Search Secondary School Teacher job listings
72Elementary School & Kindergarten Teacher$74,277 14%-3%Search Elementary School & Kindergarten Teacher job listings
99Education Counsellor$69,118 8%6%Search Education Counsellor job listings

* Demand Outlook is the estimated demand for employees in that category by 2021:
 = more than 1 job per job seeker
 = about 1 job per job seeker
 = less than 1 job per job seeker

jobs by Indeed job search

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