Top 10 Science Careers in Canada

Top 10 Science Careers in Canada
Sarah Groom, Account Manager - Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology at Groom
Sarah Groom

25 May 2022 • Estimated reading time : 7 mins

Despite the heavy toll the pandemic has wrought on society over the past few years, Canada’s pharmaceutical industry, manufacturing sector, and others have been flourishing. As it stands in 2022, the country is one of the world’s best when it comes to job opportunities for scientists. Trends towards cutting-edge healthcare and better diagnostics, greener energy, and advancements in machine learning are all contributing to the boom in demand for skilled scientists of all kinds. 

According to a Canadian government report, new job openings for life science professionals are expected to total 8,000 between now and 2028. These professionals include researchers, technicians, medical doctors and others who play vital support roles.

Based on our data from clients, as well as publicly-available online resources, here are some of the most in-demand (and well-remunerated) science careers in Canada.

1. Geneticist

As the name implies, geneticists study genes and DNA. They may specialize in the structure or function of genes, the role genetics play in disease and aging, gene variations, and more. Many geneticists are needed in the field of medicine, but some specialists are also demanded in environmental sciences, in agriculture, and even in forensics. Because there are so many applications of genetics in various fields, there’s a considerable and growing demand for them.

For top geneticist roles, candidates will most likely need an M.D. or equivalent degree, and may need further certification such as medical genetics with either the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

2. Agricultural Engineer

With Canada’s growing population, and with an increasing need for safe and sustainable farming, agricultural engineers are in high demand. Agricultural engineers will typically analyze farming techniques, and will review or design new operations to improve yields, preserve healthy environments, and optimize land use. 

Not only do agricultural engineers play a part in ensuring that people have access to safe and nutritious food, they are crucial in helping farming become more sustainable—a massive challenge that could impact the entire world and the rapidly changing climate over the next few decades. Many top universities offer degrees in agricultural engineering, and there are plenty of entry-level positions for recent graduates in addition to highly-paid senior roles.

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3. Pathologist

Pathologists study diseases as well as cancer, and typically work in a laboratory setting. Some specialize purely in detecting cancer from tissue samples, while others specialize in other aspects of diseases such as causes and manifestations. 

Considering that Canada has yet to cure cancer and eliminate all disease, and taking into account all the government spending on medical research, it’s easy to see why there’s a consistent demand for pathologists.

4. Laboratory Manager

Laboratory managers ensure that labs run smoothly. They are often in charge of ordering and maintaining supplies, ensuring safety compliance, and scheduling staff. These professionals help to ensure that everyone on the team has undergone necessary training and is up to speed on any changes in the plan. They will also work closely with both scientists and lab technicians to ensure that everyone is working together harmoniously. 

Unlike scientists that require a Phd to work, a lab manager usually needs a bachelor’s degree in the sciences, plus some technical training. Mostly, a good lab manager will possess essential soft skills such as excellent communication and organizational skills in addition to more practical knowledge.

5. Materials Scientist

Materials scientists primarily work in the manufacturing and energy sectors as they study the various properties of materials. Their experiments and analyses help to develop new materials, or to optimize existing ones. Materials can include both natural and synthetic structures like metal, rubber, or polymers.

A materials science may work with both scientists and engineers, and can be crucial for developing important products we use on a daily basis, from safety equipment to building materials. Across Canada, there are numerous and regular job opportunities for materials scientists, particularly in the green energy industry.

6. Nuclear Technician

While Canada may be known for abundant tar sands and hydroelectric power, nuclear power is still a very important energy form. There are six nuclear power plants in Canada, which have a combined capacity of 14,071 megawatts. In fact, the Bruce power station in Ontario is the largest operating nuclear power plant in the world! For this reason, nuclear technicians and other nuclear scientists and engineers are in high demand. 

Nuclear techs will often play a supporting role to engineers and physicists. At the plant, a nuclear tech will typically work to help manage the equipment and various monitoring tools used to operate and control the nuclear reactors. Plants rely on nuclear technicians to keep things running smoothly and safely. Given any plant’s potential for an accident of catastrophic proportions, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of demand for skilled nuclear technicians and other nuclear scientists in this important field.

7. Biological scientist

It might be a broad title, but biologists are integral to researching all kinds of natural materials and living organisms that help us to better understand diseases and our natural environment. Biologists in various specializations may work in government funded laboratories, at universities, and for private companies in a multitude of sectors. 

Scientists with biology degrees will usually further their education and specialize in fields such as marine biology, avian biology, or molecular biology. A biology degree is a fantastic base for those looking for almost endless job opportunities in Canada.

8. Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineers have an excellent background in physics as well as biology and chemistry. Their well-rounded education enables them to adapt well to new and innovative specializations and emerging fields. 

To put it simply, these scientists transform raw materials into recognizable products such as energy, food, or household goods. In Canada, chemical engineers will often conduct various studies in areas related to chemical, petroleum, pulp and paper, food or other processing industries. Various chemical engineering titles include chemical process control engineer, biochemical engineer, refinery engineer, and many, many more. 

9. Environmental Chemist

As climate change and pollution increasingly poses a threat to our everyday lives, those who help governments to understand the environment are becoming more valuable than ever. Environmental chemists study how chemicals enter and affect ecosystems, and how human activity affects soil and groundwater. These scientists may work both in the field and in the laboratory, and use computer modeling to interpret their data. 

Environmental chemists may work in various industries including Big Pharma or in manufacturing to ensure the safety of various products. As companies and countries bear more responsibility in terms of the damage they inflict on our planet, Environmental chemists will be increasingly needed.

10. Laboratory Technician

Imagine a film studio without lighting specialists, a hospital without nurses, or a law firm without paralegals. Simply put, none of these institutions would be able to work without the support of critical teams that allow others to shine. Lab technicians are these crucial behind-the-scenes players that enable labs to function properly so that experiments can be conducted.

In general, lab techs are in charge of managing and maintaining lab tools, equipment, and even how data is recorded and organized. They’re needed in laboratories in a wide range of sectors, from medical science to forensics. Most lab techs will work closely with scientists, and depending on their experience, many will work fairly independently. According to a Canadian jobs report, new job openings for lab technicians (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) are expected to total 20,400 between now and 2028.

Search professionals are facing nearly unprecedented shortages of labor in many industries, and the sciences are no exception. When it comes to recruiting top talent, hiring managers who possess a background in science are typically more proficient at communicating with candidates. Organizations struggling to fill roles may want to ensure their recruiters have science degrees, or reach out to an agency that specializes in the sciences. 

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Sarah Groom, Account Manager - Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology at Groom
Sarah Groom

Sarah Groom has been significantly developing Groom & Associates’ Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Division since 2013. Sarah holds Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in medical chemistry from the University of Ottawa.