Bioscience Officers reduce and prevent health threats to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and improve their operational performance. They develop practical procedures, standards, equipment and strategies that protect CAF members and resources, respect the environment, and increase effectiveness.
Bioscience Officers are specialists in the human dimension of military operations, environmental processes and occupational health and safety, as well as the roles, capabilities and needs of Forces members. Their purpose is to optimize human interaction with military systems through the interpretation and application of current scientific standards and practices in the following fields:
Applied research and development, which includes:
- Study of human response to environmental stress
- Development, testing and evaluation of protective clothing and equipment
- Analysis of the human-machine interface and system design
- Human-factors analysis of accidents
- Exploitation of technology to improve health, safety and human capability
- Occupational hygiene support, which involves health-hazard and risk assessments of CAF workplaces and equipment
High-risk training for CAF members so they can function effectively and safely when faced with environmental, occupational and operational health threats, which involves:
- Threat-specific countermeasures
- Use of protective equipment
- Operational medical training
Bioscience Officers typically work in a laboratory or office. They may be assigned to a Health Hazard Assessment Team or the Canadian Forces School of Survival and Aeromedical Training. They may be posted to support the operations of the Army, Royal Canadian Navy or Royal Canadian Air Force, in Canada or around the world.
Pay and career development
The starting salary for a fully trained Bioscience Officer is $49,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and on the length of service as an officer. Once promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (Navy) or Captain, their salary is approximately $79,000 per year.
Bioscience Officers are expected to maintain and expand professional knowledge, skills and potential through continuing education and training, including in-service instruction, specialist courses, and applicable university programs at the graduate level.
Related civilian occupations
- Industrial Hygienist
- Medical Intelligence Analyst
- Human Factors Specialist
- Science Manager
Basic military officer qualification
After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 15 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Forces, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.
Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.
Bioscience Officers work for up to 24 months under the supervision of a senior Bioscience Officer in a preceptor program. This program includes a variety of military and civilian courses, as well as work experience to bring the Bioscience Officer to an operational and independent level of performance as quickly as possible.
Bioscience Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses, professional conferences, and on-the-job training, including:
- Military Leadership
- Instructional Techniques
- Project Management and Administration
As they progress in their career, Bioscience Officers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- Graduate studies in Occupational Health
- Graduate studies in Human Factors
- Aerospace Physiology
The required education for this position is a bachelor’s degree with honours from an accredited university in Canada. Applicants must also meet minimum requirements for acceptance into a graduate program in Human Factors, Physiology or Industrial Hygiene. The CAF will decide if your academic program matches the training criteria for this job and may place you directly into the any required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military occupation training are required before being assigned.
Preference is given to applicants with degrees in the human sciences, such as human biology, human factors engineering, ergonomics, occupational hygiene, human physiology, biochemistry. The CAF may also consider applicants who have completed suitable courses in the human sciences if they also hold an engineering degree in a relevant discipline, such as Industrial, Environmental or Chemical Engineering, or Engineering Management.
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