Biologists and Related Scientists

(NOC 2121)

in All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

Biologists and related scientists conduct basic and applied research to extend knowledge of living organisms, 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: their origin, behaviour, diseases, and life processes. Marine biologists study plants and animals living in water, specifically saltwater organisms. Ecologists study the relationships among organisms and between organisms and their environments, and the effects of influences such as population size, pollutants, rainfall, temperature, and altitude. They are employed in both laboratory and field settings by governments, environmental consulting companies, resource and utilities companies, chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies and health and educational institutions.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 70 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low 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 “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other 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 grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide 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. Biologists and Related Scientists most commonly work full-time hours. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers.

The median employment income for 63% 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

$15.38

Minimum

$34.77

Median

$50.26

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,175

Minimum

$54,727

Median

$99,967

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

Biologists and related scientists conduct basic and applied research to extend knowledge of living organisms, 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: their origin, behaviour, diseases, and life processes. Marine biologists study plants and animals living in water, specifically saltwater organisms. Ecologists study the relationships among organisms and between organisms and their environments, and the effects of influences such as population size, pollutants, rainfall, temperature, and altitude. They are employed in both laboratory and field settings by governments, environmental consulting companies, resource and utilities companies, chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies and health and educational institutions.

Job duties

Biologists perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Plan and conduct studies of the environment, and of 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 perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Conduct research into the structure, function, ecology, biotechnology and genetics of micro-organisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoans, and algae.
  • Conduct research into the structure and functioning of human, animal and plant tissues and cells.
  • Conduct studies into 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. // Biologists and related scientists may specialize at the macroscopic level, in fields such as botany, zoology, ecology and marine biology or, at the cellular and molecular level, in fields such as genetics, immunology, pharmacology, toxicology, physiology, pathology, bacteriology, virology, biotechnology and bioinformatics.

Sample job titles

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

Skills

To work in this field, 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

575

employed in 2016

88.1%

employed full-time

3.5%

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

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?

65.0%

Halifax

19.0%

Annapolis Valley

8.8%

Northern

4.4%

Southern

3.6%

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

46.1%

Public Administration

26.1%

Other Professional Services

5.2%

Professional Business Services

5.2%

Educational Services

4.3%

Other Industries

What is the age of Employment?

39.3%

35-44

25.0%

25-34

23.2%

45-54

8.9%

55-64

3.6%

15-24

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

39.3%

Doctorate

$84,998 median annual income
33.3%

Bachelor's degree

$64,080 median annual income
20.0%

Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry

N/A
5.9%

High school

N/A
1.5%

College certificate or diploma

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

Agriculture - General

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the general principles and practice of agricultural research and production and that prepares individuals to apply this knowledge to the solution of practical agricultural problems. These programs include courses in basic animal, plant, and soil science; animal husbandry and plant cultivation; soil conservation; and agricultural operations such as farming, ranching, and agricultural business.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Biochemistry

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 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. These programs 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

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

Bioethics/medical ethics

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the application of ethics, religion, jurisprudence, and the social sciences to the analysis of health care issues, clinical decision making, and research procedures. These programs 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

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

Bioinformatics

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the application of computer-based technologies and services to biological, biomedical, and biotechnology research. These programs 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

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

Biology/biological sciences - General

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

This instructional program class comprises 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

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

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Biomathematics and bioinformatics - Other

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

This instructional program class comprises any program not listed above that relates to Biomathematics and Bioinformatics.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Ecology, evolution, systematics and population biology - Other

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

This instructional program class comprises any program not listed above that relates to Ecology, Evolution, Systematics and Population Biology.

Institutions providing this program

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Environmental biology

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 origins, functions, relationships, interactions, and natural history of living populations, communities, species, and ecosystems in relation to dynamic environmental processes. These programs 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 Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Environmental studies

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on environment-related issues using scientific, social scientific, and/or humanistic approaches. These programs 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

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

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

Epidemiology

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 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. These programs 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

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Forensic science and technology

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

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the application of the physical, biomedical, and social sciences to the analysis and evaluation of physical evidence, human testimony and criminal suspects. These programs 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

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

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

Medical scientist (MSc, PhD)

This program is typically offered at the university graduate level (Masters, PhD)

This instructional program class comprises 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

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Microbiology - 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 unicellular organisms and colonies, and subcellular genetic matter and their ecological interactions with human beings and other life. These programs 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

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

Neuroscience

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the interdisciplinary scientific study of the molecular, structural, physiologic, cognitive, and behavioural aspects of the brain and nervous system. These programs 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

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Pathology/experimental pathology

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses 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. These programs 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

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Pharmacology

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of drug interactions on biological systems and organisms and the sources, chemical properties, biological effects, and therapeutic uses of drugs. These programs 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

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

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

Sustainability studies

This program is typically offered at the university level.

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

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

BioNova
1344 Summer Street, Suite 124
Halifax, NS B3H 0A8
Tel: (902) 421-5705
Fax: (902) 421-2733
Canadian Botanical Association
Box 160
Aberdeen, SK S0K 0A0
Tel: (306) 253-4654
Fax: (306) 253-4744
Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists
PO Box 962, Station F
Toronto, ON M4Y 2N9
Canadian Society of Animal Science
Nova Scotia Agricultural College Haley Institute, Plant and Animal Sciences PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
Tel: (902) 896-2499
Fax: (902) 895-6734
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
160 Elgin Street, 9th Floor Address Locator 4809A
Ottawa, ON K1A 0W9
Tel: (888) 603-4178
Fax: (613) 954-1800
Canadian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology
17 Dossetter Way
Ottawa, ON K1G 4S3
Tel: (613) 421-7229
Fax: (613) 421-9811

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.

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