Physicists and Astronomers

(NOC 2111)

in All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

Physicists conduct theoretical and applied research to extend knowledge of natural phenomena and to develop new processes and devices in fields such as electronics, communications, power generation and distribution, aerodynamics, optics and lasers, remote sensing, biotechnology, medicine and health. They are employed by electronic, electrical and aerospace manufacturing companies, telecommunications companies, power utilities, university and government research laboratories, hospitals, and by a wide range of other processing, manufacturing, and research and consulting firms. Astronomers conduct observational and theoretical research to extend knowledge of the universe. They are employed by government and universities.

Job Outlook

Undetermined

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  • Estimate change in employment not available for this occupation.
  • Estimate openings due to growth and retirements not available for this occupation.
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for this occupation.

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 3095 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Physicists and Astronomers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 90% of Physicists and Astronomers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $85,616. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

N/A

Minimum

N/A

Median

N/A

Maximum

Annual Pay

N/A

Minimum

$85,832

Median

N/A

Maximum

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

Hourly Pay

$17.69

Minimum

$31.35

Median

$47.18

Maximum

Annual Pay

$13,568

Minimum

$60,422

Median

$107,009

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Physicists conduct theoretical and applied research to extend knowledge of natural phenomena and to develop new processes and devices in fields such as electronics, communications, power generation and distribution, aerodynamics, optics and lasers, remote sensing, biotechnology, medicine and health. They are employed by electronic, electrical and aerospace manufacturing companies, telecommunications companies, power utilities, university and government research laboratories, hospitals, and by a wide range of other processing, manufacturing, and research and consulting firms.

Astronomers conduct observational and theoretical research to extend knowledge of the universe. They are employed by government and universities.

Job duties

Physicists perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Design and conduct research in experimental and theoretical physics.
  • Carry out analysis of research data and prepare research reports.
  • Participate as a member of a research or development team in the design and development of experimental, industrial or medical equipment, instrumentation and procedures.

Astronomers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Design and conduct observational surveys, conduct detailed analyses and develop numerical models to extend knowledge of celestial bodies and cosmic radiation.
  • Develop or participate in the development of instrumentation and software for astronomical observation and analysis. // Physicists may specialize in fields such as aeronomy and space, acoustics, atomic and molecular physics, biophysics, condensed matter or solid state physics, electromagnetics, fluids and aerodynamics, health physics, medical physics, metrology, particle physics, optics and laser physics, nuclear physics and plasma physics. Astronomers may specialize in fields such as astrophysics, observational or optical astronomy and radio astronomy.

Sample job titles

  • aerospace research scientist
  • astronomer
  • biophysicist
  • communications research scientist
  • cosmologist
  • electronics research scientist
  • molecular biophysicist
  • nuclear physicist
  • physicist
  • physics research scientist

Skills

To work in this field, you should be imaginative, patient, persistent, and curious. Mathematical, analytical, and mechanical abilities are essential. You must be able to conduct research, use computers, and perform complex calculations. Communication skills are also important, as scientists often work in teams.

Job requirements

  • Physicists usually require a master's or doctoral degree in a field of physics, engineering physics, or in a related discipline.
  • Astronomers usually require a master's or doctoral degree in astronomy or in a related discipline.

Other considerations

Although the number of job openings for physicists and astronomers is likely to remain limited, the supply of new people qualified to work in these jobs is also limited by the significant investment in education that is required. Physicists may work closely with and perform some of the duties of engineers. Mobility between specializations within physics and within astronomy is possible with experience as is mobility to the fields of meteorology, geophysics and other fields of science. Progression to management positions is possible with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

50

employed in 2016

100.0%

employed full-time

0.0%

self employed

0.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
100%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
38.7

median age

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

25,875

employed in 2016

93.6%

employed full-time

6.9%

self employed

20.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
80%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
42.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

70.0%

Halifax

20.0%

Cape Breton

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

20.0%

Other Services

20.0%

Public Administration

20.0%

Other Industries

20.0%

Educational Services

20.0%

Health Care and Social Assistance

What is the age of Employment?

50.0%

25-34

50.0%

55-64

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

32.5%

35-44

32.0%

45-54

18.0%

55-64

13.5%

25-34

3.5%

65+

Top levels of education

50.0%

Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry

N/A
20.0%

College certificate or diploma

N/A
20.0%

Bachelor's degree

$61,508 median annual income
20.0%

Doctorate

$98,808 median annual income

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

33.7%

College certificate or diploma

$52,476 median annual income
29.7%

Bachelor's degree

$58,011 median annual income
12.1%

High school

$35,125 median annual income
9.7%

Master's degree

$37,706 median annual income
6.8%

Trades certificate

$54,923 median annual income

Education & training

Astronomy

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on the planetary, galactic, and stellar phenomena occurring in outer space. These programs include courses in celestial mechanics, cosmology, stellar physics, galactic evolution, quasars, stellar distribution and motion, interstellar medium, atomic and molecular constituents of astronomical phenomena, planetary science, solar system evolution, and specific methodologies such as optical astronomy, radioastronomy, and theoretical astronomy.

Institutions providing this program

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Astrophysics

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the theoretical and observational study of the structure, properties, and behaviour of stars, star systems and clusters, stellar life cycles, and related phenomena. These programs include courses in cosmology, plasma kinetics, stellar physics, convolution and non-equilibrium radiation transfer theory, non-Euclidean geometries, mathematical modelling, galactic structure theory, and relativistic astronomy.

Institutions providing this program

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Information technology

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the design of technological information systems, including computing systems, as solutions to business and research data and communications support needs. These programs include courses in the principles of computer hardware and software components, algorithms, databases, telecommunications, user tactics, application testing, and human interface design.

Institutions providing this program

Success College

800 Sackville Drive

Lower Sackville, NS B4E 1R8

(902) 865-8283

Acadia University

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway

Halifax, NS B3M 2J6

(902) 457-6117

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

50 Elliott Road

Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0

(902) 825-3491

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

372 Pleasant Street

Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2

(902) 742-3501

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

5685 Leeds Street

Halifax, NS B3K 2T3

(902) 491-6722

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

36 Arthur Street

Truro, NS B2N 1X5

(902) 893-5385

Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute

80 Mawiomi Place

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5

(902) 491-1100

Materials science

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the general application of mathematical and scientific principles to the analysis and evaluation of the characteristics and behaviour of solids, including internal structure, chemical properties, transport and energy flow properties, thermodynamics of solids, stress and failure factors, chemical transformation states and processes, compound materials, and research on industrial applications of specific materials.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Physics - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on the scientific study of matter and energy, and the formulation and testing of the laws governing the behaviour of the matter-energy continuum. These programs include courses in classical and modern physics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, mechanics, wave properties, nuclear processes, relativity and quantum theory, quantitative methods, and laboratory methods.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway

Halifax, NS B3M 2J6

(902) 457-6117

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
,
Tel: (250) 363-6951
Canadian Astronomical Society
100 Viaduct Ave W
Victoria, BC V9E 1J3
Canadian Association of Physicists
555 King Edward Avenue, 3rd Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7N5
Tel: (613) 562-5614
Fax: (613) 562-5615

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.

Job postings

There are currently no job postings for this occupation.