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Entomologist

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

Also Known As

Biological Scientist, Insect Biologist, Invertebrate Biologist, 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: Biologists (2121.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Biologists and Related Scientists (C021) 
  • 2011 NOC: Biologists and related scientists (2121) 
  • 2016 NOC: Biologists and related scientists (2121) 
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

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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 spiders and mites

Responsibilities vary from one position to another. But in general, entomologists study insect physiology, ecology, distribution, and habitat and recommend ways to prevent the importation and spread of harmful insects. They also:

  • Conduct research into the impact and control of insect pest problems
  • Investigate and evaluate the roles of insects in forestry, agriculture, human health, and the environment
  • Study the evolution of insects and classify them using taxonomic, molecular, and other techniques
  • Conduct experiments in plant and arthropod growth
  • Discover and describe new species of insects
  • Monitor insect biodiversity as part of ongoing efforts to preserve ecological integrity in natural landscapes
  • Develop biological methods of controlling harmful insects (for example, using pathogens, predators, parasites, or genetic methods) and implement pest management programs
  • Develop methods for controlling weeds with herbivorous insects and mites
  • Conduct field and laboratory tests of pesticides to evaluate their effect on various insect species under different conditions
  • Preserve and maintain museum collections
  • Prepare and provide information to help the public identify insects and other arthropods
  • Co-ordinate public awareness and education programs

Entomologists usually specialize in particular 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 collaborate 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 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Entomologists may put in more than a standard 40-hour week and may work weekends, particularly if they are doing research. They may travel a lot to attend conferences.

Entomologists carry out investigations in laboratories, greenhouses, fields and controlled-environment chambers. They may spend considerable 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 and toxic chemicals.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Entomologists need:

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

Entomologists should enjoy:

  • Doing precise work with instruments and equipment
  • Synthesizing information, conducting research, and preparing reports
  • Supervising research projects

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

Biologists and related scientists

2011 NOC: 2121

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 11 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 29, 2021 and Sep 26, 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.
Personal Suitability: Team player
Teleworking Information: Remote work available
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Business Equipment and Computer Applications: MS Excel
Business Equipment and Computer Applications: MS PowerPoint
Business Equipment and Computer Applications: MS Word
Business Equipment and Computer Applications: MS Outlook
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • 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 (PhD) 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 31, 2019
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

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

Biologist

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

Legislation

Professional Biologist is a protected title under Alberta’s Professional and Occupational Associations Registration Act [pdf]. This means that to call yourself a Professional Biologist, you must be a registered member of the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists (ASPB). At present, you can call yourself a "biologist" if you are not a registered member of ASPB.

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Entomologists are employed by government departments, post-secondary schools, environmental consulting companies and museums. For example, entomologists employed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency work to prevent the spread of invasive invertebrates. Pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing companies and large pest control companies hire entomologists to do research and demonstrate new products for people in the agriculture, forestry, and medical communities. Some entomologists are independent consultants who offer insect identification services, advise clients on insect control or carry out environmental impact assessments.

Many students work in post-secondary schools or government research centres as research assistants while completing their undergraduate degree. Graduates of bachelor’s degree programs may be hired for technical positions in research programs or work in government jobs, such as forest health survey coordinator. They also find work in customer service in pest control companies or as juniors in environmental consulting companies. Those with a PhD may do independent research, administrative work or teach at the post-secondary level.

Entomologists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2121: Biologists and related scientists. In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

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

In Alberta, the 2121: Biologists and related scientists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 58 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 Mar 31, 2019

Entomologists’ salaries vary considerably 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

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

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 31, 2019

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

Entomological Society of Alberta website: www.entsocalberta.ca

Entomological Society of Canada website: esc-sec.ca

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

Updated Mar 31, 2019. 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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