Biologists and Related Scientists

(NOC 2121)

in All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

Biologists and related scientists research living organisms and ecosystems to manage natural resources and to develop new practices and products related to medicine and agriculture. Biochemists study the chemical composition of living things. Molecular biologists study life at the molecular level, which is the foundation for biotechnology. Botanists study plants and their environment. Zoologists study animals and their origin, behaviour, diseases, and life processes. Marine biologists study plants and animals living in water, specifically saltwater organisms. Ecologists study the relationships between living things and their environment, and the effects of influences like population size, pollutants, rainfall, temperature, and altitude. Entomologists study the classification, biodiversity, life cycles and ecology of insects and other arthropods. Microbiologists study the growth and characteristics of micro-organisms like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasite and how they interact with the environment. Geneticists study how genes function to make cells and organisms and how hereditary traits ad mutations are passed through generations. Scientists in this group work in both laboratory and field settings for governments, environmental consulting companies, resource and utilities companies, chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnical companies and health and educational institutions. Biologists and related scientists may specialize at the macroscopic level in fields like botany, zoology, ecology and marine biology or, at the cellular and molecular level in fields like genetics, immunology, pharmacology, toxicology, physiology, pathology, bacteriology, virology, biotechnology and bioinformatics.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Stable employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 45 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Low 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 a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to remain largely the same over the next few years. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Biologists and Related Scientists most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 61% of Biologists and Related Scientists who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $74,455. 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

$18.96

Minimum

$37.33

Median

$56.41

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,175

Minimum

$54,727

Median

$99,967

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

Biologists and related scientists research living organisms and ecosystems to manage natural resources and to develop new practices and products related to medicine and agriculture. Biochemists study the chemical composition of living things. Molecular biologists study life at the molecular level, which is the foundation for biotechnology. Botanists study plants and their environment. Zoologists study animals and their origin, behaviour, diseases, and life processes. Marine biologists study plants and animals living in water, specifically saltwater organisms. Ecologists study the relationships between living things and their environment, and the effects of influences like population size, pollutants, rainfall, temperature, and altitude. Entomologists study the classification, biodiversity, life cycles and ecology of insects and other arthropods. Microbiologists study the growth and characteristics of micro-organisms like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasite and how they interact with the environment. Geneticists study how genes function to make cells and organisms and how hereditary traits ad mutations are passed through generations.

Scientists in this group work in both laboratory and field settings for governments, environmental consulting companies, resource and utilities companies, chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnical companies and health and educational institutions. Biologists and related scientists may specialize at the macroscopic level in fields like botany, zoology, ecology and marine biology or, at the cellular and molecular level in fields like genetics, immunology, pharmacology, toxicology, physiology, pathology, bacteriology, virology, biotechnology and bioinformatics.

Job duties

Biologists:

  • Study the environment and the population, distribution, structure and functional characteristics and behaviour of plants and animals.
  • Conduct ecological and environmental impact studies and prepare reports.
  • Study, identify and classify plant and animal specimens.
  • Conduct experiments in plant or animal growth, heredity, and breeding.
  • Prepare reports and plans for management of renewable resources.
  • May supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists.

Microbiologists and cell and molecular biologists:

  • Research the structure, function, ecology, biotechnology, and genetics of micro-organisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoans, and algae.
  • Research the structure and functioning of human, animal and plant tissues and cells.
  • Study the identification, effects and control of human, plant and animal pathogens and toxins.
  • Conduct clinical or laboratory studies to test, evaluate and screen drugs, pharmaceuticals and nanoparticles used in biomedical applications.
  • Conduct molecular or biochemical studies and experiments in genetic expression, gene manipulation and recombinant DNA technology to develop new or alternative methods of producing products.
  • Conduct research in biotechnology to discover, develop and refine, and evaluate new products.
  • May participate in the commercialization of new products.
  • May supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists.
  • May conduct biostatistical data analysis using computer modelling techniques.

Sample job titles

  • biologist
  • botanist
  • ecologist
  • food scientist
  • geneticist
  • immunologist
  • marine biologist
  • naturalist
  • pharmacologist
  • toxicologist

Skills

You must be comfortable working with instruments, apparatus, and chemicals. You should be observant of details, enjoy research, and have good judgement for scientific and administrative decision-making. The ability to communicate and cooperate with others is important, as scientists often work in teams. Basic computer and mathematical skills are necessary. You must have physical stamina to do field research in remote areas.

Job requirements

  • A bachelor's degree in biology or in a related discipline is required for biologists.
  • A master's or doctoral degree in biology or a related discipline is required for employment as a research scientist in biology.
  • Post-doctoral research experience is usually required before employment in academic departments or research institutions.

Other considerations

Diversification of Nova Scotia's economy may provide some job opportunities for biologists with skills appropriate for use in the pharmaceutical and health sciences industries. People in these jobs generally work regular hours in offices and laboratories, although some conduct fieldwork and on-site studies.

By the numbers

Quick look

685

employed in 2016

86.9%

employed full-time

5.1%

self employed

51.8%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
48.2%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
41.2

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?

64.5%

Halifax

18.8%

Annapolis Valley

8.7%

North Shore

4.3%

Southern

3.6%

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

46.5%

Public administration

31.6%

Professional, scientific and technical services

6.1%

Manufacturing

5.3%

Educational services

3.5%

Health care and social assistance

What is the age of Employment?

28.0%

35-44

26.0%

25-34

18.0%

55-64

16.0%

45-54

7.0%

65+

6.0%

15-24

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

38.7%

Master

$49,573 median annual income
33.6%

Bachelor

$55,848 median annual income
19.7%

Doctorate

$84,998 median annual income
6.6%

High school

N/A
1.5%

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%

Trade Certification

$57,773 median annual income

Education & training

Agriculture - General

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs focus on agricultural research and production. They include courses in basic animal, plant, and soil science, animal husbandry and plant cultivation, soil conservation, and agricultural operations like farming, ranching, and agricultural business.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Animal Behaviour and Ethology

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of the psychological and neurological bases of animal sensation, perception, cognition, behaviour, and behavioural interactions within and outside the species. They include courses in ethology, behavioural neuroscience, neurobiology, behavioural evolution, cognition and sensory perception, motivators, learning and instinct, hormonal controls, reproductive and developmental biology, community ecology, functional behaviour, and applications to specific behaviours and patterns as well as to specific phyla and species.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Biochemistry

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of the chemistry of living systems, their fundamental chemical substances and reactions, and their chemical pathways and information transfer systems, with particular reference to carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. They include courses in bio-organic chemistry, protein chemistry, bioanalytical chemistry, bioseparations, regulatory biochemistry, enzymology, hormonal chemistry, calorimetry, and research methods and equipment operation.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Bioethics/Medical Ethics

College or University Program

These programs focus on applying ethics, religion, jurisprudence, and the social sciences to the analysis of health care issues, clinical decision making, and research procedures. They include courses in philosophical ethics, moral value, medical sociology, theology, spirituality and health, policy analysis, decision theory, and applications to problems such as death and dying, therapeutic relationships, organ transplantation, human and animal subjects, reproduction and fertility, health care justice, cultural sensitivity, needs assessment, professionalism, conflict of interest, chaplaincy, and clinical or emergency procedures.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Bioinformatics

College or University Program

These programs focus on the application of computer-based technologies and services to biological, biomedical, and biotechnology research. They include courses in algorithms, network architecture, principles of software design, human interface design, usability studies, search strategies, database management and data mining, digital image processing, computer graphics and animation, CAD, computer programming, and applications to experimental design and analysis and to specific quantitative, modelling, and analytical studies in the various biological specializations.

Institutions providing this program

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Biology/Biological Sciences

College or University Program

This includes any general program of biology at the introductory, basic level or a program in biology or the biological sciences that is undifferentiated as to title or content. These programs include courses in general biology and programs covering a variety of biological specializations.

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

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Saint Mary's University

Halifax, NS

Cape Breton University

Sydney, NS

Biometry/Biometrics

College or University Program

These programs focus on applying statistics and other computational methods to the study of problems in the biological sciences and related fields in agriculture and natural resources. They include courses in computational biology, mathematical statistics, matrix algebra, applied calculus, experimental design, linear modelling, sampling theory, stochastic processes, spatial and temporal analysis, longitudinal analysis, sparse/unbalanced data and complex error, and applications to such topics as population genetics, animal breeding, forest genetics, population dynamics, wildlife biometry, ecology, and agricultural and natural resource management.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Environmental Biology

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of the origins, functions, relationships, interactions, and natural history of living populations, communities, species, and ecosystems in relation to dynamic environmental processes. They include courses in biodiversity, molecular genetic and genomic evolution, meso-scale ecology, computational biology and modelling, conservation biology, local and global environmental change, and restoration ecology.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Environmental Studies

College or University Program

These programs focus on environment-related issues using scientific, social scientific, and/or humanistic approaches. They include courses in the basic principles of ecology and environmental science and related subjects such as policy, politics, law, economics, social aspects, planning, pollution control, natural resources, and the interactions of human beings and nature.

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

Cape Breton University

Sydney, NS

Epidemiology

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of disease, disability, and trauma patterns within and across populations and the development of health management mechanisms to prevent and control disease outbreaks and injurious behaviours. They include courses in biostatistics, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, disease and injury determinants, genetic disease and disability factors, behavioural studies, health services research, environmental disease and injury factors, and population studies.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Forensic Science and Technology

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs focus on applying the physical, biomedical, and social sciences to the analysis and evaluation of physical evidence, human testimony and criminal suspects. They include courses in forensic medicine, forensic dentistry, anthropology, psychology, pathology, forensic laboratory technology, crime scene analysis, fingerprint technology, document analysis, pattern analysis, examination procedures, applicable laws and regulations, and professional standards and ethics.

Institutions providing this program

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

Medical Scientist (MSc, PhD)

University Program

This includes any undifferentiated clinical science program that prepares graduated physicians (M.D. or D.O.) as research scientists in various areas.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Microbiology

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of unicellular organisms and colonies, and subcellular genetic matter and their ecological interactions with human beings and other life. They include courses in microbial genetics, cell biology, cell physiology, virology, pathogenic microbiology, environmental microbiology, immunology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, and laboratory methods including microscopy.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Neuroscience

University Program

These programs focus on the interdisciplinary scientific study of the molecular, structural, physiologic, cognitive, and behavioural aspects of the brain and nervous system. They include courses in molecular and cellular neuroscience, brain science, anatomy and physiology of the central nervous system, molecular and biochemical bases of information processing, behavioural neuroscience, biology of neuropsychiatric disorders, and applications to the clinical sciences and biomedical engineering.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Pathology/Experimental Pathology

University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of the expression, initiation, maintenance and progression of tissue injury and disease, including death, and the relationship of pathogenesis to fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms. They include courses in immunology, microbiology, gene expression, inflammation, cell injury, apoptosis, immunopathology, molecular markers of disease and toxins, neoplasia, growth regulation, and organ- and system-specific investigations.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Pharmacology

University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of drug interactions on biological systems and organisms and the sources, chemical properties, biological effects, and therapeutic uses of drugs. They include courses in pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, drug therapeutics, drug action, bodily responses to drug events, biochemical proliferation and differentiation, apoptosis, cell biology, medicinal chemistry, and studies of specific drugs and drug interactions.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, 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

Sustainability Studies

University Program

These programs focus on the concept of sustainability from an interdisciplinary perspective. They include courses in sustainable development, environmental policies, ethics, ecology, landscape architecture, city and regional planning, economics, natural resources, sociology, and anthropology.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

BioNova
Halifax, NS
Canadian Botanical Association
Aberdeen, SK
Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists
Toronto, ON
Canadian Society of Animal Science
Various, Canada
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Ottawa, ON
Canadian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology
Toronto, ON

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.