About the job
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- marine geologist
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.
- 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.
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.
Labour Market Information
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)
|Occupation||Estimated employment in 2018||Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019||Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019||Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018||Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)||Estimated annual earnings in 2015|
|Geoscientists and Oceanographers||255||Moderate growth||30||Moderate|
|Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology||25,875||Strong growth||3,095||Low|
|Geoscientists and Oceanographers||Compared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology|
|Percent employed full-time||85%||94%|
|Area of Employment||Geoscientists and Oceanographers||Compared to: All NS Occupations|
|% Employed||Median Annual Income||% Employed||Median Annual Income|
|Age||Geoscientists and Oceanographers||Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology|
|% Employed||% Employed|
|Gender||Geoscientists and Oceanographers||Compared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology|
|% Employed||% Employed|
|Education||Geoscientists and Oceanographers||Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology|
|% Employed||Median Annual Income||% Employed||Median Annual Income|
|Less than high school||N/A||x||0.7%||$28,107|
|College certificate or diploma||3.7%||x||33.7%||$52,476|
|University certificate or diploma||3.7%||x||3.7%||$52,446|
|University advanced certificate or diploma||N/A||x||2.0%||$54,917|
|Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry||22.2%||x||0.1%||$57,566|
Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.
Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.