Dear Working Wise:
I just lost my job as a manager of a video store. I would like to find a new career with better pay, but I can’t afford to spend four years in school. What are my options? Signed, Want to Work
Spending four 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 nearly impossible.
If you are looking for job-specific training, you might want to investigate training options at Alberta’s many colleges and technical institutes. They offer programs that can range in length from four months to one year.
There are also many private vocation schools and colleges that offer short-term training for specific careers.
Earning your Class-one license, for example, can take between four and six weeks depending on your experience. And class-one drivers can earn between $15 and $30 per hour depending on the industry they work in and how far they drive from home.
Online- and distance-learning courses can enable you to maintain employment while upgrading your skills and are also available through many colleges and institutions.
You might also want to consider a career in one of Alberta’s 50 registered trades. Registered Apprentices spend about 80 per cent of their time earning a paycheck while they learn on the job. For more information on the wide variety of career options in the trades, check out www.tradesecrets.alberta.ca.
Alberta Occupational Profiles (OCCinfo) is a database of more than 500 careers that you can search by job title, industry, subject and interest. You can also use the database’s advanced search by anticipated demand, physical strength required, and required training.
I performed a quick search of careers that require one year or less of post-secondary training and found more than 300 occupations. You can try searching the database yourself at: www.alis.gov.ab.ca/occinfo.
Here are just a few examples of careers that require a year or less of formal training: Accounting Technician; Bartender; Baker; Bus Driver; Bylaw Officer; Canadian Forces Officer; Cardiology Technologist; Carpet Cleaner; Child Care Provider; Courier; Dental Assistant; Embalmer; Emergency Medical Responder; Esthetician; Flight Attendant; Floral Designer; Health Care Aide; Heavy Equipment Operator; Hospital Unit Clerk; Installer; Meat Cutter; Medical Lab Assistant; Mortgage Associate; Non-destructive Testing Technician; Parts Technician; Pet Groomer; Security Officer; Safety Officer; Shuttle-bus Driver; Special-event Coordinator; Truck Driver; Unit Clerk, Warehouse Worker/Manager, and Well Service/Testing Technician.
One final suggestion is to check the Canada-Alberta Job Bank www.jobbank.gc.ca 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 quick careers:
- Call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753; or
- Visit your nearest Alberta Works Office and ask to speak to a Career and Employment Consultant. You can find your nearest Alberta Works Office by clicking on www.employment.alberta.ca/offices
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.