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Engineering Physicist

Engineering physicists use scientific and engineering principles to solve problems and develop new processes, products, and technologies.

Also Known As

Engineer, Professional Engineer

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: Engineering Physicists and Engineering Scientists (2148.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Professional Engineers, n.e.c. (C048) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. (2148) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. (2148) 
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.

Engineering Physicists and Engineering Scientists
2006 NOC : 2148.3

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to develop processes, programs and equipment

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working with technical equipment when conducting experiments

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to advise senior officials on the implications of advanced engineering and scientific applications; and in supervising the work of technologists and technicians

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 Apr 11, 2022

Engineering physicists solve challenging problems and apply scientific discoveries in a practical way. They do this in fields involving many disciplines. They may help to develop new knowledge about lasers, optics, robotics, imaging systems, superconductors, hydrodynamics, thermodynamics, nanotechnology, or nuclear science. They may use this knowledge to develop new engineering methods and principles. They may also use it to design solutions to technical problems in the electronics, communications, aerospace, biomedical, or energy industries. The work may include numerical simulation methods to study complex multi-physics problems.

Engineering physicists work with other engineers and scientists. They integrate new findings on advanced and emerging technologies into processes for making and using other technology. The work that engineering physicists perform is constantly evolving. They often work in research and development or competitive high-tech industries.

Engineering physicists may help develop instruments, measurement techniques, or prototype systems related to:

  • Acoustics such as sound reproduction, hall design, and speakers
  • Communications such as fibre optics, lasers, antenna design, and wireless communications
  • Electronics and computer technologies such as designing amplifiers, logic circuits, computer peripherals, and detectors
  • Environmental sciences such as oceanography, pollution detection and control, meteorology, and climatology
  • Instrumentation and control systems such as medical instruments and equipment, and sensing equipment
  • Lasers and optics such as holography, non-linear optics, photonics, and telecommunications
  • Materials science such as biomaterials, magnetic thin films, semiconductor devices, and superconductivity
  • Medicine such as medical imaging techniques, radiation treatment, and prosthetics
  • Microelectronics such as designing components and circuits, sensors, and novel processes
  • Nanotechnology such as high-resolution imaging and structured engineered materials
  • Nuclear or plasma science such as reactor design and waste management, and detecting radiation
  • Space science such as designing instruments for satellite or ground-based observations

Engineering physicists must constantly update their knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid advances in technology.

Working Conditions
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Engineering physicists work in office settings, industrial plants, and labs. They may work long hours. They may work under pressure to meet deadlines and define procedures and standards.

Traits & Skills
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Engineering physicists need:

  • Natural curiosity and observation skills
  • Critical-thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Expertise in physics and math
  • Attention to detail
  • Creativity and persistence
  • The ability to see how complex processes and equipment go together
  • Speaking and writing skills
  • The ability to work on their own or as part of a team of people from diverse backgrounds
  • A desire for ongoing learning in a variety of disciplines

They should enjoy:

  • Synthesizing information
  • Working on tasks that require precision
  • Consulting with and directing the work of others
Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

The minimum education requirement for engineering physicists is a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a related engineering discipline. Those wishing to specialize or do advanced research usually need a master’s or doctoral degree.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

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 Apr 11, 2022
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Engineer

Professional engineers design, construct, evaluate, advise, monitor, and report on the performance of materials, equipment, systems, works, processes, and structures.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act [pdf] and Engineering and Geoscience Professions General Regulation [pdf], you must register as a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a Professional Engineer or engage in the practice of engineering.

You do not have to register if you work under the direct supervision of a professional engineer and do not call yourself a Professional Engineer or use the word “engineer” in your job title.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Engineer.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Engineering physicists work for:

  • Engineering consulting firms
  • Universities and other research and development facilities
  • Governments
  • Manufacturing and other private sector firms
  • Resource and high-tech industries such as telecommunications, microelectronics, nuclear power, and aerospace

Engineering physicists often work with people from many other disciplines. The knowledge and skills they gain as they work may allow them to move into other areas of science and engineering. They may also move into sales, marketing, or management.

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 2148: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. occupational group, 81.9% 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 2148: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 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

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 11, 2022

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.

Other professional engineers, n.e.c.

2016 NOC : 2148
Average Wage
$55.72
Per Hour
Average Salary
$112,155.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.7
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2148 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.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more 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 $32.16 $60.75 $47.14 $47.11
Overall $40.50 $71.16 $55.72 $54.79
Top $51.49 $93.32 $72.17 $70.56

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

ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
14%
14%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
N/A
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
0%
0%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website: www.apega.ca

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

Updated Mar 31, 2022. 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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