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Entomologist

Entomologists study the classification, biodiversity, life cycles, ecology, and control of insects and other terrestrial arthropods. They plan and implement surveys and pest management programs.

Also Known As

Biological Scientist, Insect Biologist, Invertebrate Biologist, Invertebrate Zoologist, Research Scientist

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

  • 2121.1: Biologists

2006 NOC-S

  • C021: Biologists and Related Scientists

2011 NOC

  • 2121: Biologists and related scientists

2016 NOC

  • 2121: Biologists and related scientists

2021 NOC

  • 21110: Biologists and related scientists

2023 OaSIS

  • 21110.01: Biologists
Duties
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Entomologists investigate the biology, roles, and management of:

  • Insect pests
  • Parasites and predators of insects
  • Beneficial insects including plant pollinators
  • Other insects and non-marine arthropods such as centipedes, spiders, and mites

Responsibilities vary from one position to another. In general, entomologists study the physiology, behaviour, ecology, distribution, and habitat of insects and other terrestrial arthropods. They also:

  • Conduct research into the impact and control of terrestrial arthropod pests
  • Investigate and evaluate the roles of insects and other terrestrial arthropods in forestry, agriculture, human health, and the environment
  • Recommend ways to prevent the importation and spread of pest arthropods
  • Study the evolution of terrestrial arthropods
  • Identify terrestrial arthropods using morphological and molecular techniques
  • Conduct experiments in plant and arthropod development
  • Discover and describe new species of terrestrial arthropod
  • Monitor biodiversity as part of ongoing efforts to preserve ecological integrity in natural landscapes
  • Develop biological methods of controlling harmful terrestrial arthropods (such as using pathogens, predators, parasites, or genetic methods) and implement pest management programs
  • Develop methods for controlling weeds using herbivorous insects and mites
  • Conduct field and laboratory tests of pesticides and biological control agents to evaluate their effect on pest species under different conditions
  • Preserve and maintain museum collections
  • Prepare and provide information to help the public identify insects and other arthropods
  • Coordinate public awareness and education programs

Entomologists usually specialize in fields of study such as apiculture (bee husbandry), agriculture, or forest entomology. Some specialize in classification and evolution, insect ecology and physiology, or insecticide toxicology.

Entomologists often work with other scientists on projects. A team may work on developing crops resistant to insects or on combatting animal and plant diseases caused by arthropods that transmit infectious organisms. They may, for example, focus on mosquitoes spreading West Nile virus, bark beetles spreading Dutch elm disease fungus, or ticks carrying bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 21, 2023
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Entomologists may sometimes put in more than a standard 40-hour week and may work weekends. This is often the case if they are doing research. The timing of the work can be dictated by the insects’ activity rather than the calendar or clock. They may travel to get to research sites or attend conferences.

Entomologists carry out research in labs, controlled-environment chambers, greenhouses, and agricultural plots. They may spend a lot of time preparing and analyzing data. The work may be tedious.

Entomologists also do field research. Fieldwork can be strenuous and involve physical labour. It can mean living in a remote location for long periods. Safety is important when faced with hazards such as dangerous wildlife, rough terrain, or adverse weather conditions.

Entomologists play an important role in the safe handling of poisonous and allergenic insects and arthropods that carry disease-causing microbes and toxic chemicals.

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.

Biologists

2006 NOC: 2121.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to conduct ecological and environmental impact studies and to prepare reports, and to develop new practices in biological research

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working with instruments and equipment to conduct experiments in plant and animal growth, heredity and breeding

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to advise on issues related to biological processes and research and the development of new products; may supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists

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

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Entomologists need:

  • Flexibility
  • Curiosity, creativity, patience, and perseverance
  • An interest in invertebrate biology
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Data-management skills
  • Manual dexterity
  • Physical and mental stamina for working outdoors
  • The ability to work independently and as part of a team

They should enjoy:

  • Doing precise work with instruments and equipment
  • Synthesizing information, developing research questions, conducting research, and preparing reports
  • Participating in and supervising research projects
  • Handling insects

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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Biologists and related scientists

2016 NOC: 2121

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 30 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 29, 2021 and May 29, 2024.

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.
Construction Specialization: Team player
Construction Specialization: Accurate
Construction Specialization: Excellent written communication
Attention to detail
Construction Specialization: Excellent oral communication
Tasks: Produce reports
Tasks: Monitor and compile research results
Health benefits: Paramedical services coverage
Work under pressure
Tasks: Supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 21, 2023
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

The minimum academic requirement is a 4-year bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences or agriculture. Research positions in universities, government, and industry usually call for a master’s (M.Sc.) or doctoral (Ph.D.) 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 Mar 21, 2023
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certification is not required for this occupation. However, it is required for entomologists who are also professional biologists.

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.

Biologist

Biologists study living organisms and apply their scientific knowledge in various fields.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Professional and Occupational Associations Registration Act [pdf] and Professional Biologists Regulation [pdf], you must be a registered member of the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists (ASPB) to use the Professional Biologist title or the P. Biol. and P Biol initials.

You do not have to register if you do not call yourself a Professional Biologist.

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Entomologists work for:

  • Government departments
  • Post-secondary schools
  • Environmental consulting companies
  • Museums

Entomologists who work for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency try to prevent the spread of invasive invertebrates in food. Those who work for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada try to control insect damage to crops.

Pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing companies and large pest control companies hire entomologists to do research. In this role, they demonstrate new products to control insects in agriculture, forestry, and medicine.

Some entomologists work as independent consultants. They offer insect identification services, advise clients on insect control, or carry out environmental impact assessments.

Many students work in post-secondary schools or government departments as research assistants while completing their bachelor’s degree. Graduates of bachelor’s programs may obtain technical positions in research programs. They may work in government jobs, such as forest health survey coordinator. They also find work in customer service in pest control or environmental consulting companies.

Those with a PhD may do independent research, administrative work, or teach at the post-secondary level.

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 2121: Biologists and related scientists occupational group, 79.3% 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 2121: Biologists and related scientists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.6% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 44 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: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Entomologists’ salaries vary depending on their qualifications and research responsibilities.

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.

Biologists and related scientists

2016 NOC: 2121
Average Wage
$46.17
Per Hour
Average Salary
$91,023.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.1
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2121 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 $22.00 $55.00 $34.71 $33.00
Overall $24.00 $70.91 $46.17 $46.86
Top $26.00 $101.09 $60.62 $58.00

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

ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
32%
32%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
47%
47%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
19%
19%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies
  • Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Alberta Society of Professional Biologists website: www.aspb.ab.ca

Entomological Society of Alberta website: entsocalberta.ca

Entomological Society of Canada website: esc-sec.ca

Entomological Society of America website: entsoc.org

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

Updated Mar 21, 2023. 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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