Geoscientists and Oceanographers

(NOC 2113)

in All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

Geoscientists include geologists, geochemists and geophysicists who conduct programs of exploration and research to extend knowledge of the structure, composition and processes of the earth, to locate, identify and extract hydrocarbon, mineral and groundwater resources and to assess and mitigate the effects of development and waste disposal projects on the environment. Geoscientists are employed by petroleum and mining companies, consulting geology, geophysics and engineering firms and by governments and educational institutions, or they may be self-employed. Oceanographers conduct programs of exploration and research on ocean processes and phenomena, biological, chemical and physical characteristics of oceans, interactions with atmospheric and geological environments and impacts of human activity on oceans and marine ecosystems. Oceanographers are employed by governments, educational institutions and private companies engaged in exploration of seafloor deposits and seafarming areas, or they may be self-employed.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 30 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2016

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

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. 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. Geoscientists and Oceanographers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 61% of Geoscientists and Oceanographers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $86,077. 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

$20,163

Minimum

$76,971

Median

$140,449

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

Geoscientists include geologists, geochemists and geophysicists who conduct programs of exploration and research to extend knowledge of the structure, composition and processes of the earth, to locate, identify and extract hydrocarbon, mineral and groundwater resources and to assess and mitigate the effects of development and waste disposal projects on the environment.

Geoscientists are employed by petroleum and mining companies, consulting geology, geophysics and engineering firms and by governments and educational institutions, or they may be self-employed.

Oceanographers conduct programs of exploration and research on ocean processes and phenomena, biological, chemical and physical characteristics of oceans, interactions with atmospheric and geological environments and impacts of human activity on oceans and marine ecosystems. Oceanographers are employed by governments, educational institutions and private companies engaged in exploration of seafloor deposits and seafarming areas, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties

Geoscientists perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Conduct theoretical and applied research to extend knowledge of surface and subsurface features of the earth, its history and the operation of physical, chemical and biological systems that control its evolution.
  • Plan, direct and participate in geological, geochemical and geophysical field studies, drilling and geological testing programs.
  • Plan and conduct seismic, electromagnetic, magnetic, gravimetric, radiometric, radar and other remote sensing programs.
  • Plan, direct and participate in analyses of geological, geochemical and geophysical survey data, well logs and other test results, maps, notes and cross sections.
  • Develop models and applied software for the analysis and interpretation of data.
  • Plan and conduct analytical studies of core samples, drill cuttings and rock samples to identify chemical, mineral, hydrocarbon and biological composition and to assess depositional environments and geological age.
  • Assess the size, orientation and composition of mineral ore bodies and hydrocarbon deposits.
  • Identify deposits of construction materials and determine their characteristics and suitability for use as concrete aggregates, road fill or for other applications.
  • Conduct geological and geophysical studies for regional development and advise in areas such as site selection, waste management and restoration of contaminated sites.
  • Recommend the acquisition of lands, exploration and mapping programs and mine development.
  • Identify and advise on anticipated natural risks such as slope erosion, landslides, soil instability, subsidence, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
  • May supervise and coordinate well drilling, completion and work-overs and mining activities.

Oceanographers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Conduct theoretical and applied oceanographic research programs and expeditions to extend knowledge of the physical, chemical and biological properties and functioning of oceans.
  • Plan, direct and participate in sampling and analysis of seawater, plankton, fish, sediments and rocks.
  • Study physical properties of oceans to develop models, charts and computer simulations of ocean conditions, such as tides, waves, currents and sediment transport.
  • Explore ocean floor and submarine geological structures, conduct seismic surveys and study formation of ocean basins and other structures to map ocean floor, coastal erosion, sediment accumulation and areas for offshore oil and gas exploration.
  • Plan and conduct investigations on ocean chemical properties and processes, ocean floor and marine atmosphere and undersea volcanoes to study impacts of environmental changes.
  • Study marine life and interaction with physical and chemical environments to assess impacts of pollutants on marine ecology and to develop ecologically-based methods of seafarming. // Geologists may specialize in fields such as coal geology, environmental geology, geochronology, hydrogeology, mineral deposits or mining, petroleum geology, stratigraphy, tectonics, volcanology or in other fields. Geochemists may specialize in analytical geochemistry, hydrogeochemistry, mineral or petroleum geochemistry, or in other fields. Geophysicists may specialize in areas, such as petroleum geology, earth physics, geodesy, geoelectromagnetism, seismology or in other fields. Oceanographers may specialize in biological, chemical, geological or physical oceanography, or in other fields related to the study of oceans.

Sample job titles

  • geochemist
  • geologist
  • geophysicist
  • geoscientist
  • hydrogeologist
  • hydrologist
  • marine geologist
  • mineralogist
  • oceanographer
  • paleontologist

Skills

To work in this field, you should have an interest in the earth's structure and materials. The ability to communicate and cooperate with others is important, as these individuals often work in teams. Also, a familiarity with computers is essential. You should be curious, adaptable, and patient, and enjoy working with scientific data. Physical stamina may be necessary for those doing fieldwork in remote areas or at sea.

Job requirements

  • Geoscientists require a university degree in geology, geochemistry, geophysics or a related discipline.
  • A master's or doctoral degree in geophysics, physics, mathematics or engineering may be required for employment as a geophysicist.
  • Registration with a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers, geologists, geophysicists or geoscientists is usually required for employment.
  • Geologists and geophysicists are eligible for registration following graduation from an accredited educational program and after several years of supervised work experience and, in some provinces, after passing a professional practice examination.
  • Oceanographers require a university degree in science, mathematics, statistics or engineering and usually require a graduate degree in oceanography.

Other considerations

Any future oil and natural gas exploration and development activity may generate job opportunities for geologists with the appropriate training. Mobility between specializations in this group is possible with experience. Progression to supervisory or higher level positions is possible with experience in this group. Advancement to management positions in mining, petroleum and other industries is possible with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

255

employed in 2016

85.2%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

17.5%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
82.5%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
53.4

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?

74.6%

Halifax

9.5%

Northern

6.3%

Southern

6.3%

Annapolis Valley

4.8%

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

45.1%

Public Administration

21.6%

Professional Business Services

13.7%

Other Professional Services

7.8%

Educational Services

5.9%

Support for Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction

What is the age of Employment?

37.3%

35-44

29.3%

25-34

16.0%

45-54

14.7%

55-64

2.7%

15-24

2.7%

65+

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

46.3%

Bachelor's degree

$66,238 median annual income
24.1%

Doctorate

$59,027 median annual income
22.2%

Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry

N/A
3.7%

College certificate or diploma

N/A
3.7%

Trades certificate

N/A

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

Biological and physical sciences

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that is either a general synthesis of one or more of the biological and physical sciences, or a specialization which draws from the biological and physical sciences.

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

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

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

Engineering - General

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that generally prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to solve a wide variety of practical problems in industry, social organization, public works, and commerce.

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

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

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Fishing and fisheries sciences and management

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of the husbandry and production of non-domesticated fish and shellfish populations for recreational and commercial purposes and the management of fishing and marine/aquatic product processing to ensure adequate conservation and efficient utilization. These programs include courses in the principles of marine/aquatic biology, freshwater and saltwater ecosystems, water resources, fishing production operations and management, fishing policy and regulation, and the management of recreational and commercial fishing activities.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus

PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road

Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0

(902) 875-8640

Geochemistry

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of the chemical properties and behaviour of the silicates and other substances forming, and formed by geomorphological processes of the earth and other planets. These programs include courses in chemical thermodynamics, equilibrium in silicate systems, atomic bonding, isotopic fractionation, geochemical modelling, specimen analysis, and studies of specific organic and inorganic substances.

There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.

Geology/earth science - General

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of the earth; the forces acting upon it; and the behaviour of the solids, liquids and gases comprising it. These programs include courses in historical geology, geomorphology, and sedimentology, the chemistry of rocks and soils, stratigraphy, mineralogy, petrology, geostatistics, volcanology, glaciology, geophysical principles, and applications to research and industrial problems.

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

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

Geophysics and seismology

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of the physics of solids and its application to the study of the earth and other planets. These programs include courses in gravimetrics, seismology, earthquake forecasting, magnetrometry, electrical properties of solid bodies, plate tectonics, active deformation, thermodynamics, remote sensing, geodesy, and laboratory simulations of geological processes.

There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.

Marine biology and biological oceanography

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of the ecology and behaviour of microbes, plants, and animals inhabiting oceans, coastal waters, and saltwater wetlands and their interactions with the physical environment. These programs include courses in chemical, physical, and geological oceanography; molecular, cellular, and biochemical studies; marine microbiology; marine botany; ichthyology; mammalogy; marine population dynamics and biodiversity; reproductive biology; studies of specific species, phyla, habitats, and ecosystems; marine paleoecology and paleontology; and applications to fields such as fisheries science and biotechnology.

Institutions providing this program

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

Marine sciences

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the study of biology, chemistry, geology and physics applied to marine, estuarine and coastal environments. These programs include courses in marine biogeochemistry, atmosphere and ocean dynamics, coastal ecology, coastal ocean processes, microbial ecology, marine ecosystem modeling, and polar microbiology.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute

80 Mawiomi Place

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5

(902) 491-1100

Mathematics - General

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

This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on the analysis of quantities, magnitudes, forms, and their relationships, using symbolic logic and language. These programs include courses in algebra, calculus, functional analysis, geometry, number theory, logic, topology and other mathematical specializations.

Institutions providing this program

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

Oceanography, chemical and physical

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of the chemical components, mechanisms, structure, and movement of ocean waters and their interaction with terrestrial and atmospheric phenomena. These programs include courses in material inputs and outputs, chemical and biochemical transformations in marine systems, equilibria studies, inorganic and organic ocean chemistry, oceanographic processes, sediment transport, zone processes, circulation, mixing, tidal movements, wave properties, and seawater properties.

There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.

Physical sciences - General

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the major topics, concepts, processes, and interrelationships of physical phenomena as studied in any combination of physical science disciplines.

Institutions providing this program

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

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

Statistics - General

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

This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on the relationships between groups of measurements, and similarities and differences, using probability theory and techniques derived from it. These programs include courses in the principles in probability theory, binomial distribution, regression analysis, standard deviation, stochastic processes, Monte Carlo method, Bayesian statistics, non-parametric statistics, sampling theory, and statistical techniques.

Institutions providing this program

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

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Geoscientist

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
Geoscientists Nova Scotia
PO Box 91
Enfield, NS B2T 1C6
(902) 420-9928
(902) 482-5039

Contacts

Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources
PO Box 698
Halifax, NS B3J 2T9
Tel: (902) 424-5935
Fax: (902) 424-7735
Geological Association of Canada
Room ER4063, Alexander Murray Building, Memorial University
St. John's, NL A1B 3X5
Tel: (709) 864-7660
Fax: (709) 864-2532
Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
PO Box 3211, Station D
Ottawa, ON K1P 6H7
Tel: (613) 990-0300
Fax: (613) 990-1617

Additional resources

Job postings

There are currently no job postings for this occupation.