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Science Careers in Canada

Careers in science are expected to be some of the most exciting in Canada in the 21st century. According to Frank Feather, reported to be Canada's leading business futurist and the author of Canada's Best Career Guide, "The companies that survive and prosper will be those that go as "high tech as possible, position themselves in unique niches... and focus on selling their expertise and knowledge abroad."

Canada's Best Career Guide lists several best-bet industries that are of interest to science graduates. They are (in no particular order): information and high-technology; personal services including health and medical; plastics, ceramics and new materials; robotics and outer-space industries; hydro and solar electricity; mass/urban transit and aircraft/airports; biotech farming and aquaculture; and environmental restoration.

Health and medical professions ranked high on Frank Feather's list of "120 Best Growth Career to 2010." Nurses came in at number 1 (in-home nurse), 2 (nurse practitioner) and 9 (registered nurse). Physician/surgeon ranked 4th with pharmacist at number 6. Psychiatrist/psychologist was 7th, radiology technician was 8th, and the number 10 spot went to physiotherapist. The rest of the list was littered with health and medical professions. In other science areas, veterinarians and biologists/bioscientists ranked in the top 50, with physicists, foresters/ecoscientists and geologists making the top 120 list as well.

Health and Medical Sciences
Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) wasn't as generous as Frank Feather and shows work prospects for graduates from health and medicine programs to be fair to good. HRDC shows unemployment rates and earnings in these occupations as more favourable than for the economy as a whole. HRDC statistics also indicate that close to 100 percent of graduates from health and medical science programs were satisfied with their work and that above average numbers would make the same educational choice again. In addition graduates from these areas tend not to change jobs over the first few years of employment after graduation.

Medicine
Almost 90 percent of undergraduates of medicine programs find full-time work according to HRDC. More than 80 percent thought their training matched their work and only 12 percent felt they were overqualified for their jobs. Earnings were nearly 40 percent higher than average two years after graduation and 98 percent higher after five years. With demand outgrowing the supply of graduates, indications are that competition among new graduates will be weak.

Medical/Surgical Specialties
HRDC shows that 80 percent of these graduates find full-time work and that 94 percent are satisfied with their work. However, only 75 percent (below the average of 82 percent) said they would make the same educational choice again. A slightly below average number (63 percent) thought their work directly matched their training, but only 36 percent felt they were overqualified for their jobs. With the number of new job openings expected to be less than the number of graduates, indications are that competition among grads will be strong. HRDC suggests that these grads will have more success searching for employment in teaching, research or consulting. Earnings were only 7 percent above average two years after graduation but increased to 43 percent above average after five years.

Basic Medical Sciences
Again HRDC showed that a slightly below average percentage of these graduates thought their current job directly matched their educational training, but significantly below average percentages felt overqualified for their jobs. Earning for this group were below average for other same-level graduates, even five years after graduation. And while the number of new job openings is expected to be less than the number of job seekers with the requisite skills for these jobs, indications are that the competition among new graduates for jobs will still be strong.

Dentistry
All dentistry graduates thought their current job directly matched their training, an average percentage felt that they were overqualified for their job and almost 90 percent would make the same educational choice again according to HRDC. Unemployment rates were significantly lower than average and 86 percent find full-time work. Full-time earning were twice the average and the highest among health undergraduates and indications are that competition among new grads will be weak.

Nursing
HRDC shows that among nursing grads from both undergraduate and master's levels, 83 percent find full-time work and 85 percent thought their work directly matched their training. Although almost half of undergraduate nurses felt they were overqualified for their jobs, only 30 percent of graduate nurses felt the same way. Earnings for nurses were higher than average two years after graduation, but lower than average after five years. HRDC indicates that competition among new grads will be intense.

Pharmacy
According to HRDC, 92% of pharmacy graduates entering the labour force find full-time jobs and that the unemployment rate was the second lowest of undergraduate health fields. Full-time earnings were almost 50 percent higher than average two years after graduation and 33 percent higher after five years. Only 2
percent felt they were overqualified for their jobs and 94 percent thought their work directly matched their training. The labour market is expected to be good, with the number of new jobs slightly exceeding the number of skilled job seekers. HRDC suggest that these graduates will be relatively more successful when searching for employment as medical laboratory technologists and technicians and as medical or industrial pharmacists.

Rehabilitation Medicine
Most graduates from this area work as orthopedic technologists, reflexologists, massage therapists, physical rehabilitation technicians and as other therapy and assessment professionals with 92 percent finding full-time work according to HRDC. Unemployment rates were significantly lower than average and wages were higher than average. Almost all were satisfied and thought their training directly matched their work, with only 5 percent feeling they were overqualified. However, HRDC indicates that the labour market for these occupations is only fair and that the competition among new graduates for jobs will be intense.
Other Health
Medical and dental technologists, technicians and therapists found full-time work at a rate of 76 percent according to HRDC and unemployment rates were higher than average. However, earning were a full 23 percent higher at the undergraduate level and 8 or 9 percent higher at the graduate level. More than 80 percent said they would make the same educational choice again, although only half at the undergraduate level thought their training matched their work and almost as many felt they were overqualified for their jobs. At the graduate level 85 percent thought their training matched their work and only 28 percent felt they were overqualified. HRDC suggest that competition among grads will be average, and that these graduates should search for employment as medical laboratory technologists and technicians, pharmaceutical workers, respiratory and radiation therapists and in technical occupations related to dental health care, therapy and assessing.

Life Sciences
In the life science areas of biology and veterinary sciences, agriculture and forestry, animal and plant sciences, and food and household science, HRDC shows that graduates had generally lower than average unemployment rates. The exceptions were undergraduate animal and plant sciences (2 points above average) and undergraduate biology, which was five points above the average -- although graduate-level biology students had one of lowest unemployment rates for the group (only veterinary sciences was lower). The labour market situation for many of these occupations was poor or only fair, and indications are that competition among graduates for jobs will be strong or intense for most, with job changing a regular occurrence during the first five years.

Biology
Biology graduates generally work in the education, government, hospital or logging and forestry sectors. HRDC statistics show that average numbers were satisfied with their work and below average percentages felt they were overqualified for their work. Except for those who enter teaching, a relatively significant number of graduates change jobs. The labour market in this area is fair and expected to remain that way, with indications that the competition among new graduates for jobs will be strong to intense. HRDC suggests that these graduates will have more success when searching for employment as biological technologists and technicians.

Veterinary Sciences
HRDC statistics show that more than 90 percent of veterinary science graduates find full-time work, and 100 percent are satisfied with their work. More than 75 percent would make the same educational choice again, and the same number felt their work directly matched their training, with a significantly low 5 percent believing they were overqualified for their job. Unemployment rates were below average for these grads and earnings were above average for graduates at the same level. The labour market situation is good in this area and few veterinary science graduates change jobs.

Animal and Plant Sciences
HRDC surveys show that 87 percent of the animal and plant sciences graduates entering the labour force find full-time jobs. More than 90 percent were satisfied with their work and 76 percent would make the same educational choice again. However, only 50 percent thought their work directly matched their training, more than 40 percent felt they were overqualified for their jobs and a large number of graduates change jobs. The labour market in this area is expected to be poor and indications are that the competition among new graduates for jobs will be intense with supply increasing faster than demand. HRDC suggest that these graduates will be relatively more successful when searching for employment in technical occupations in agriculture and horticulture and as contractors and supervisors in agriculture and horticulture.

Forestry
Forestry graduates generally work in forestry and logging, wood products or government sectors. HRDC surveys show that more than 90 percent find full-time work and that unemployment rates for these grads were below the average. A full 100 percent were satisfied with their work and 75 percent would make the same educational choice again. Above average percentages felt their current job directly matched their training and below average percentages felt they were overqualified for their jobs. However, forestry-related grads tended to change jobs and the work prospect outlook is only fair.

Agriculture
Most agriculture graduates work in agriculture, logging and forestry, recreation or government sectors, with 97 percent finding full-time work. Unemployment rates for these graduates were lower than the average, however, the labour market is expected to be poor, with indications that the competition among new graduates for jobs will be intense. Less than half of these graduates thought their training directly matched their work, 43 percent felt they were overqualified for their jobs and there was a high degree of job changing. However, 94 percent said they were satisfied with their work and around 70 percent said they would make the same education choice again. HRDC suggest that these graduates will be relatively more successful when searching for employment in technical occupations in life sciences and as contractors and supervisors in agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture.

Food and Household Sciences
Food and household sciences graduate generally work in the food services, hospital or retail trade sectors of the economy. HRDC statistics show that more than 80 percent find full-time work, unemployment rates were below the average and earnings were above average for these grads. However, below average percentages thought their work matched their training, above average numbers felt they were overqualified for their job and a large number of graduates change jobs. The labour market is expected to be only fair and indications are that the competition among new graduates for jobs will be strong.

Physical Sciences
HRDC shows that in the physical sciences areas of chemistry, mathematics, physics and geology, the recent unemployment rate and earnings in these occupations have been as or more favourable as for the economy as a whole. The labour market for most of these occupations is fair to good, and for some is expected to improve. Indications are that the competition among new graduates for jobs will be average or weak.

Chemistry
Chemistry graduates found work as applied chemical technologists and technicians, chemists or as university teaching and research assistants. They generally worked in research and development laboratories, in government and in pharmaceutical, health and education sectors. A higher than average percentage found full-time work (around 84 percent). An average number of chemistry grad were satisfied with their work, and below average percentages felt they were overqualified for their job, with average numbers or higher feeling their work directly matched their training. Those working in the chemical industry seldom changed jobs, but the majority of those working as teachers changed jobs between the third and fifth year after graduation.

Mathematics
Work prospect for mathematics graduates are good, and most find jobs as mathematicians, statisticians or actuaries, teachers or in computer-related fields. Average numbers said they would make the same education choice again and were satisfied with their work. Although a below average number felt their current job directly matched their training, a significantly below average percentage felt they were overqualified for their jobs. Few mathematics graduates change jobs and were often in the same job for several years.

Physics
Physics graduates generally work in the education sector, in engineering firms and in computer or professional business services. Average numbers were satisfied with their work, but physics graduates have a tendency to change jobs. Work prospects are fair to good and are expected to improve, with the demand exceeding the supply of physicists.

Geology
Most graduates find work as geologists, geological and mineral technologists and technicians, geologists, geochemists or geophysicists or teachers. HRDC statistics show that average or higher numbers (around 80 percent) find full-time work, and the number of graduates who change jobs is relatively low. Work prospects are expected to improve going from fair to good, with an increased demand exceeding the supply of skilled job seekers.

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