Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

Guest Account Sign In Sign Up

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.

  • Avg. Salary $73,770.00
  • Avg. Wage $32.22
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 31,200
  • In Demand Lower
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

27%
27%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Beekeeper is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Farmers and Farm Managers
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

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 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 More

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

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.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
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
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 31, 2018

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.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 31, 2018

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.

Beekeepers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 0821: Managers in agriculture. In Alberta, 97% of people employed in this classification work in the Agricultural [pdf] industry.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 31, 2018
Managers in agriculture

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $14.00 $48.08 $27.01 $23.46
Overall $15.00 $53.85 $32.22 $27.96
Top $17.50 $61.54 $36.01 $33.23

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.

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.


Industry Information
Public Administration
Agriculture
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

15%
15%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

27%
27%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

4%
4%

Vacancy Rate

1%
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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

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.

Was this page useful?
Top