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Working Wise: Quick Careers

Dear Working Wise,

I got laid off a few months ago, but I haven’t been able to find another job in my industry since. I would like to find a new career with less uncertainty, but I can’t afford to spend 4 years in school retraining. What are my options?
Signed, Want to Work

March 9, 2016

Dear Want,

Spending years studying for a new career can be difficult for some people—especially those who are working on their second or third career.

Mortgages and family commitments can make a lengthy return to school difficult.

If you are looking for job-specific training, you might want to investigate your options on the Educational Programs section on the OCCinfo website. This database has more than 2,500 different training programs including many that range in length from a month to a year.

Some of these courses are available online, part-time or through distance-learning, which allows you to work while you upgrade your skills.

There are also many private vocation schools and colleges that offer short-term training for specific careers.

You might also want to consider a career in one of Alberta’s registered trades. Registered Apprentices spend about 80% of their time earning a paycheque while they learn on the job. For more information on the wide variety of career options in the trades, check out the Tradesecrets website.

OCCinfo also has more than 500 occupational profiles listed by job title, industry, subject and interest. You can also use the advanced search feature and filter by anticipated demand, physical strength required, and required training.

Earning a certificate or a diploma on top of your high-school education opens the doors to 180 different careers. You can try searching the OCCinfo database yourself for information on these careers.

Here are just a few examples of careers that require a year or less of formal training:

  • Accounting Technicians require a high school diploma and earn $24.57 per hour on average.
  • Bus Drivers with a high school diploma earn $24.76 per hour on average, and often receive their driver training from their employer.
  • Unit Clerks usually have a high school diploma plus a one year Unit Clerk Certificate and earn $27.64 per hour on average.

One final suggestion is to check the Canada-Alberta Job Bank and your local help-wanted ads for job postings that interest you. You can then use the Occinfo database to find out what the position salary and educational requirements are.

For more information on career planning:

Good luck!

Photo Credit: © iStockphoto/Rostislav

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