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Physiologists are scientists who study the whole organism and cellular function in humans, animals and plants.

  • Avg. Salary $84,998.00
  • Avg. Wage $41.93
  • Minimum Education 8+ years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Biological Scientist, 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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Physiologist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

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


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


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

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

Updated Nov 03, 2014

In the biological sciences, physiology is a fundamental field defining the functions of cells, organs and tissues and their inter-relationships. It employs numerous techniques and approaches including molecular biology, pharmacology, biochemistry, anatomy, cell biology, engineering and computing science. Many physiologists work in research and teaching. In general, they:

  • plan and conduct laboratory experiments
  • write papers for scientific journals, reports and grant proposals
  • sit on university committees and research grant panels
  • attend meetings with other scientists and administrators
  • educate medical, paramedical and science students about physiology.

Physiologists who have doctoral (PhD) degrees often start their careers as post-doctoral fellows, then become university professors who teach and oversee research programs. They may specialize in studying areas such as:

  • the heart and circulatory system
  • individual cell function
  • hormones and glandular secretions
  • the digestive system
  • metabolism (the conversion of food to energy)
  • the kidneys and associated body fluids
  • the reproductive system
  • the lungs and respiratory system
  • the nervous system at all levels up to co-ordinated neural functions
  • the effects of physical activity on various body systems
  • the effects of high altitudes on humans
  • the effects of radiation on biological systems
  • how genes control body functions
  • how biological membranes function
  • mathematical modeling of physiological processes.
Working Conditions
Updated Nov 03, 2014

Physiologists employed by universities usually divide their time between teaching and research. Teaching requires many hours preparing for class, grading papers and meeting with students.

Physiologists who work as full time researchers spend most of their time in laboratories but also travel to scientific meetings to present their results. They use a wide variety of electronic, optical, chemical and mechanical devices to discover how the body operates. They may work long hours conducting precise experiments and analyzing results.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Nov 03, 2014

In common with other scientists, physiologists need the following characteristics:

  • good powers of observation
  • the ability to integrate data from many sources and test hypotheses rigorously
  • an open and inquiring mind
  • excellent oral and written communication skills.

They should enjoy synthesizing information (for example, analyzing data and developing models) and finding innovative solutions to problems, working with equipment and instruments at tasks requiring precision, and co-ordinating or supervising the work of others. They should enjoy presenting their research findings to fellow scientists, the public and other interested parties.

Educational Requirements
Updated Nov 03, 2014

University graduates who have a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in physiology or a related discipline such as pharmacology, biochemistry, biology, physics, chemistry or engineering may work in the drug or biotech industry. Some physiologists train as physicians, then take advanced degrees in physiology. Post-secondary teaching and research positions generally require a doctoral degree (PhD) followed by postdoctoral work.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Ambrose University

Concordia University of Edmonton

St. Mary's University

The King's University

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Nov 03, 2014

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Nov 03, 2014

Physiologists are employed by:

  • universities and colleges
  • hospitals
  • institutes related to sports health
  • pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
  • firms working in rehabilitation medicine.

Physiologists 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 in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Nov 03, 2014
Biologists and related scientists

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
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $25.72 $48.08 $30.69 $25.72
Overall $31.46 $63.82 $41.93 $37.73
Top $41.28 $64.10 $54.40 $55.21

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
  • Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Nov 03, 2014

Canadian Physiological Society (CPS) website:

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 Nov 03, 2014. 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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