Working in Alberta
Salaries in Alberta vary depending on the employer, hours worked and educational qualifications, as well as experience and responsibilities which the position requires. Alberta wages are among the highest in Canada.
If you are coming to Alberta, one of your first priorities will be to find a job. The Government of Alberta has many resources to help you with your job search. The alis website provides career, learning and employment information.
The Government of Canada’s Job Bank has tools and information about careers, including the skills and knowledge needed for different jobs. On that site you can create a professional resume and to be matched to job postings that suit your experience and skill set with Job Match.
Some occupations in Alberta are regulated (nurses, engineers, lawyers, teachers) meaning that you must be licensed by a professional regulatory organization in order to work in that occupation. If your occupation is regulated you often can, and should, begin the licensing process with the organization before you come to Canada. Other jobs are not regulated, meaning that you do not need to be licensed in order to work.
- Foreign qualification recognition
- Qualifications recognition – Regulatory bodies
- Regulated health professions and colleges
Cost of living
Living in Alberta is affordable. Alberta offers higher incomes and lower cost of living.
Families in Alberta typically enjoy a higher family income than other parts of Canada. In a 2020 Canadian income survey, Alberta families earned a median income of $104,000 after tax. This is above the Canadian average of $92,400.
To find out how much you could earn, go to the alis OCC info and select your occupation.
You can own a house in one of our 2 major cities for as little as $450,000. In Edmonton, you can own 4 homes for the same price as 1 in Vancouver.
Rents vary depending on where you live and what type of housing you live in. The average rent in the province is $1266 – larger centres will have higher rents.
If you are working or attending school and you have young children, you may need to arrange for child care. Alberta offers both informal, unlicensed care and formal, licensed programs.
Many Albertans own a vehicle. To drive a car, truck, or van, you need a driver’s licence, insurance, and registration for your vehicle.
Many cities have transit systems with public buses, while Calgary and Edmonton also have train transit systems.
Community and lifestyle
Alberta is made up of a diverse set of cultures and communities that are home to many world-class services.
Our communities are part of what makes Alberta such a great place to live, with small, rural towns home of only a few hundred people, to our 2 major cities, Calgary and Edmonton, with populations of over 1 million each. Each have their own unique character and many opportunities for work.
While Alberta is Canada’s fourth-most populous province, it is also the fourth largest, which means it is never hard to escape into nature.
There are many places you could live, each with its own unique character, and opportunities for work across the province.
- Celebrating Diversity in Alberta (video)
Volunteering is also very popular with 80% of locals engaging in volunteer activities.
Alberta’s French mother tongue (Francophone) population is among the fastest-growing French-speaking populations in Canada, with nearly 87,000 people. Alberta has approximately 2,000 communities and natural sites with French-influenced names.
Four Alberta municipalities are officially bilingual: Beaumont, Legal, Falher and Plamondon.
Alberta has a diverse landscape, from prairies to rolling hills to the foothills and the Rocky Mountains. From arid badlands to boreal forests, Alberta has the diversity to keep you exploring the province for a lifetime.
The mountains are not that far away. If you drive, Banff is about 1 hour from Calgary and 4 hours from Edmonton.
Health care cost and access
Alberta has no health insurance premiums, but you must register. Most people living and working in Alberta get free access to medical clinics or hospitals and most medical services covered under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan.
Alberta's health care system gives people access to:
- hospitals and clinics
- a variety of social support services
- qualified physicians and health care workers
Education and training
Alberta has an excellent education system, with many options based on language or religion.
Kindergarten to Grade 12
Children living in Alberta must attend school from ages 6 to 16. Public education is free for those under 20 years of age, up to the end of senior high school – K to 12.
Most students attend school from early September to late June. A wide range of schools are available, such as public, Catholic, Francophone, charter, and private, offering innovative programs such as home education, online schools, and alternative programs.
Provincial tests ensure that the highest standards are maintained. These tests also allow teachers and parents to determine how students are doing and what help they may need.
Universities and colleges
With 26 universities and colleges, Alberta has many post-secondary options. The Alberta government subsidizes tuition fees, and the cost varies across the province. Institutions post tuition costs on their websites.
Post-secondary options in Alberta include polytechnic institutes such as the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary, and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton.
These institutes offer certificates, diplomas, applied degrees, apprenticeships and continuing education programs related to trades and technical work.
Alberta has 4 distinct seasons, from hot summers to snowy winters and everything in between. Alberta enjoys the highest number of sunny days in Canada with up to 18 hours of daylight in summer and over 312 days of sunshine each year.
It is true that it gets cold in the winter, but our homes are centrally heated so indoors, we are warm. Our geography gives us a ‘dry cold’ which is easy to manage if you dress warmly for it. With the right clothing and layers, you will be prepared to enjoy all that an Alberta winter has to offer.
Local radio, television and newspapers give daily weather forecasts.
Environment Canada has Alberta’s current weather information.