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Beekeeper

Beekeepers manage colonies of honey bees in apiaries (bee yards) to produce honey and hive byproducts - such as pollen and beeswax - and to pollinate crops and breed bees.

Also Known As

Apiarist, Farmer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Farmers and Farm Managers (8251) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Farmers and Farm Managers (I011) 
  • 2011 NOC: Managers in agriculture (0821) 
  • 2016 NOC: Managers in agriculture (0821) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Farmers and Farm Managers

2006 NOC: 8251

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
DIRECTIVE

Interest in supervising and hiring farm workers; and in determining amounts and kinds of crops to be grown and livestock to be raised, and in purchasing farm machinery, livestock, seed, feed and other supplies

METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information to plant, cultivate and harvest crops; and in raising and breeding livestock and poultry

OBJECTIVE

Interest in driving - operating and maintaining farm machinery, equipment and buildings

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Dec 31, 2018

Beekeeping duties vary with the seasons but, in general, beekeepers:

  • Prepare colonies for honey and beeswax production, pollination, and over-wintering
  • Inspect colonies for vitality, queen performance, level of food reserves, and parasites or disease
  • Manage bee colonies by feeding bees, replacing queen bees, dividing colonies, replacing combs, and keeping records
  • Monitor hive health issues and apply cures and controls
  • Move bees to different locations to pollinate crops
  • Collect and package honey, pollen, and beeswax and market to consumers, retailers or packers
  • Train workers in food safety and occupational health and safety, and maintain related records
  • Maintain and repair bee yard and beekeeping equipment including special protective clothing, bee smokers, hive tools and carpentry tools
  • Operate and maintain farm trucks, forklifts, and machines like grass mowers and chemical sprayers for controlling grass around hives
  • Operate and maintain food-processing, honey-extraction, and packaging equipment
  • Maintain warehouse and equipment
  • Use pesticides and antibiotics responsibly

In winter, beekeepers regularly check over-wintering colonies. They maintain and build hive boxes and equipment in preparation for spring and must follow food safety and biosecurity guidelines and regulations when harvesting and processing hive products.

In large-scale commercial operations, depending on years of experience, beekeepers may have varying responsibilities. For example:

  • Apiary harvesters harvest honey and clean and maintain hive equipment and the bee yard.
  • Apiary workers assist apiary technicians with all aspects of caring for bees, operating and maintaining equipment and collecting and packaging honey.
  • Apiary technicians do all of the above and may also supervise staff and interact with external farm personnel, like supply companies and owners of other apiaries.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 31, 2018
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Beekeepers are busiest in spring, summer, and fall and work long hours in the summer. In winter, they may average 20 hours or less per week in an established operation. They work evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays.

Beekeepers work outside in all kinds of weather. Although automation and mechanization have helped, the work is often repetitive and physically demanding, and requires lifting heavy items.

Beekeepers must follow safety guidelines and wear protective clothing to avoid injury to themselves or others when working with machinery, tools, and hives. Hygiene practices must be followed to prevent or control the spread of diseases from hive to hive and the contamination of hive products.

Traits & Skills
Updated Dec 31, 2018

Beekeepers need:

  • Adaptability
  • Fitness, coordination, and manual dexterity
  • To not be allergic to bee stings
  • The ability to tolerate bee stings
  • The ability to follow instructions and work without supervision
  • The ability to work with a team
  • A responsible attitude
  • A willingness to learn

They should enjoy:

  • Taking a methodical approach to their work
  • Being respectful of the land on which their bees are located
  • Working with landowners, whose land they rent for placement of hives

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Managers in agriculture

2011 NOC: 0821

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 14 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 04, 2021 and Sep 25, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Tractor
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Truck
Maintain farm machinery, equipment and buildings
Perform general farm duties
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Personal Suitability: Initiative
Personal Suitability: Judgement
Monitoring animal health
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 31, 2018
  • Minimum Education Varies

Beekeepers must have knowledge about:

  • Bee biology and behaviour
  • Hive status, such as bee health and strength
  • Nectar sources and honey quality
  • Identification and control of bee diseases, parasites, and predators
  • Antibiotic regulations
  • Proper use of pesticides, antibiotics, and chemicals
  • Industry issues, trends, and marketing
  • Provincial legislation (the Bee Act, Bee Regulation, and Honey Grading Regulation)
  • Food safety, occupational health and safety training, and employment regulations
  • Financial and production record keeping

Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have:

  • First aid and CPR training
  • Hand tool skills
  • Experience operating and maintaining trucks, forklifts, and other equipment including food processing and packing equipment

Inexperienced beekeepers should gain experience by working with established beekeepers. Anyone who has bees must register their hives annually with the Government of Alberta.

The Government of Alberta offers the Green Certificate Program. The program provides apprenticeship-style training. It combines hands-on farm mentorship with formal education.

The program is free and available to students of all Alberta high schools. Various specializations, such as beekeeping, are offered at each level. Graduates of the Level I Green Certificate Program are certified as farm production technicians. They may earn credits toward their high school diploma for each specialization they complete. Level II (farm production supervisor) and III (agribusiness manager) Green Certificates are also available. They are meant for people interested in a career in agriculture.

To participate in the Green Certificate Program, trainees must be at least 15 years of age and in grade 10, 11, or 12. The training takes about a year. That allows trainees to experience all 4 seasons on a farm.

For more information on registration requirements and other details, students may visit the Green Certificate Program website or ask their guidance counsellor.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 31, 2018
  • Certification Not Regulated

To use some pesticides, beekeepers must hold a pesticide applicator certificate. Completion of the Farmer Pesticide Training Certificate course through the Government of Alberta is recommended.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 31, 2018

Large beekeeping operations often employ beekeeping assistants (apiary harvesters and workers) over the summer months. Some employ assistants year-round. There is considerable demand for beekeeping assistants in Alberta due to a growing demand for hives to pollinate seed canola in southern Alberta.

Beekeepers may start their own businesses or buy an established apiary. Setting up a commercial beekeeping business requires considerable capital investment in addition to the cost of land. Anyone who has bees must register their hives annually with the Government of Alberta.

Beekeepers that have 100 or more hives can become an eligible producer with the Alberta Beekeepers Commission.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 0821: Managers in agriculture occupational group, 95.7% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 0821: Managers in agriculture occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of -0.8% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, -219 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 31, 2018

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Managers in agriculture

2016 NOC: 0821
Average Wage
$33.59
Per Hour
Average Salary
$73,729.00
Per Year
Average Hours
42.9
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 0821 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.23 $48.08 $26.81 $25.64
Overall $19.38 $57.69 $33.59 $28.00
Top $23.08 $63.46 $37.90 $32.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Agriculture

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
18%
18%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
37%
37%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
4%
4%
Vacancy Rate
3%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 31, 2018

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry website: www.agric.gov.ab.ca

Alberta Beekeepers website: www.albertabeekeepers.org

Canadian Honey Council website: honeycouncil.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Dec 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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