Geoscientists and Oceanographers

(NOC 2113)

in All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

Geoscientists include geologists, geochemists and geophysicists who investigate 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. Geologists examine rocks from Earth’s surface and subsurface. Geochemists study the composition, structure, processes, and other physical aspects of the Earth. Geophysicists study the surface and internal makeup of Earth. Geoscientists work for petroleum and mining companies, consulting geology, geophysics, and engineering firms and by governments and educational institutions, or they may be self-employed. Geologists may specialize in fields like 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, hydro geochemistry, mineral or petroleum geochemistry, or in other fields. Geophysicists may specialize in petroleum geology, earth physics, geodesy, geoelectromagnetism, seismology or in other fields. Oceanographers study oceans, including ocean processes, characteristics, interactions with atmospheric and geological environments and effect of human activity on oceans and marine ecosystems. Oceanographers work for governments, educational institutions and private companies involved in exploration of seafloor deposits and seafarming areas, or they may be self-employed. Oceanographers may specialize in biological, chemical, geological, or physical oceanography, or in other fields related to the study of oceans.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Stable employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 35 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

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

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 2585 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

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 remain largely the same over the next few years. 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. 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 55% 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

$18.00

Minimum

$37.80

Median

$48.46

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 investigate 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. Geologists examine rocks from Earth’s surface and subsurface. Geochemists study the composition, structure, processes, and other physical aspects of the Earth. Geophysicists study the surface and internal makeup of Earth. Geoscientists work for petroleum and mining companies, consulting geology, geophysics, and engineering firms and by governments and educational institutions, or they may be self-employed. Geologists may specialize in fields like 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, hydro geochemistry, mineral or petroleum geochemistry, or in other fields. Geophysicists may specialize in petroleum geology, earth physics, geodesy, geoelectromagnetism, seismology or in other fields.

Oceanographers study oceans, including ocean processes, characteristics, interactions with atmospheric and geological environments and effect of human activity on oceans and marine ecosystems. Oceanographers work for governments, educational institutions and private companies involved in exploration of seafloor deposits and seafarming areas, or they may be self-employed. Oceanographers may specialize in biological, chemical, geological, or physical oceanography, or in other fields related to the study of oceans.

Job duties

Geoscientists:

  • Research the 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 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 to analyze and interpret data.
  • Study 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 like site selection, waste management and restoration of contaminated sites.
  • Recommend the purchase of lands, exploration and mapping programs and mine development.
  • Identify and advise on natural risks like slope erosion, landslides, soil instability, subsidence, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.
  • Supervise and coordinate well drilling, completion and workovers and mining activities.

Oceanographers:

  • Research the physical, chemical, and biological properties and functioning of oceans.
  • Sample and analyze seawater, plankton, fish, sediments, and rocks.
  • Study physical properties of oceans to develop models, charts, and computer simulations of ocean conditions like 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.
  • Investigate ocean chemical properties and processes, ocean floor and marine atmosphere and undersea volcanoes to study the effect of environmental changes.
  • Study marine life and interaction with physical and chemical environments to assess the effect of pollutants on marine ecology and to develop ecologically based methods of seafarming.

Sample job titles

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

Skills

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 need 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. Movement between specializations in this group is possible with experience. Movement to supervisor or higher level positions is possible with experience in this group.

By the numbers

Quick look

315

employed in 2016

81.3%

employed full-time

17.2%

self employed

18.8%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
81.2%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
53.4

median age

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

25,875

employed in 2016

91.5%

employed full-time

7.6%

self employed

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

median age

Where will I likely work?

73.4%

Halifax

9.4%

North Shore

6.3%

Southern

6.3%

Annapolis Valley

4.7%

Cape Breton

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

45.1%

Public administration

39.2%

Professional, scientific and technical services

7.8%

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

7.8%

Educational services

What is the age of Employment?

30.0%

55-64

25.0%

45-54

19.0%

35-44

14.0%

65+

11.0%

25-34

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

24.2%

25-34

23.5%

45-54

23.4%

35-44

16.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

46.0%

Bachelor

$53,819 median annual income
23.8%

Master

$80,476 median annual income
22.2%

Doctorate

$98,711 median annual income
3.2%

Diploma Below Bachelor

N/A

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

33.1%

College Diploma

$59,986 median annual income
29.8%

Bachelor

$63,965 median annual income
11.9%

High school

$45,835 median annual income
9.9%

Master

$65,105 median annual income
6.9%

Apprenticeship

$57,773 median annual income

Education & training

Biological and Physical Sciences

College or University Program

This includes 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

Wolfville, NS

Cape Breton University

Sydney, NS

Engineering - General

University Program

These programs prepare 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

Wolfville, NS

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Saint Mary's University

Halifax, NS

Cape Breton University

Sydney, NS

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Fishing and Fisheries Sciences and Management

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of farming and producing non-domesticated fish and shellfish populations for recreational and commercial purposes and managing fishing and marine/aquatic product processing to ensure adequate conservation and efficient use. They 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

Shelburne, NS

Geology/Earth Science

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of the earth; the forces acting upon it; and the behaviour of the solids, liquids and gases comprising it. They 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

Wolfville, NS

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Saint Mary's University

Halifax, NS

Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography

College or University Program

These programs focus 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. They 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

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Marine Sciences

College or University Program

These programs focus on the study of biology, chemistry, geology and physics applied to marine, estuarine and coastal environments. They 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 - Ivany Campus

Dartmouth, NS

Mathematics

College or University Program

These programs focus on the analysis of quantities, magnitudes, forms, and their relationships, using symbolic logic and language. They include courses in algebra, calculus, functional analysis, geometry, number theory, logic, topology and other mathematical specializations.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Mount Saint Vincent University

Halifax, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Saint Mary's University

Halifax, NS

Cape Breton University

Sydney, NS

Physical Sciences

College or University Program

These programs focus on the major topics, concepts, processes, and interrelationships of physical phenomena as studied in any combination of physical science disciplines.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Saint Mary's University

Halifax, NS

Physics

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of matter and energy, and the formulation and testing of the laws governing the behaviour of the matter-energy continuum. They 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

Wolfville, NS

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Mount Saint Vincent University

Halifax, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Saint Mary's University

Halifax, NS

Statistics

College or University Program

These programs focus on the relationships between groups of measurements, and similarities and differences, using probability theory and techniques derived from it. They 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

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Mount Saint Vincent University

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Geoscientist

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional licence. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to legally do this work.

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

Contacts

Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry
Halifax, NS
Geological Association of Canada
St. John's, NL
Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
Ottawa, ON

Additional resources