A Dummy’s Guide to Become a Geologist

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  • Do you find earth and its elements fascinating? Do you imagine at times how come the earth came into existence and how it produces some of the most shining and expensive elements like Gold or Platinum?

    Geology is the science of the Earth and its composition. The materials that make this planet inhabitable and the study of such materials and organisms that inhabit our planet is also an important part of geology.  Geologists are essentially scientists and researchers who put efforts in understanding the history of our planet and its current environmental phenomenon and their effect on the future. If you are considering a career in geology in the near future, this post is for you.

    What does a geologist do?

    The job of a geologist is to study the structure of the Earth, its material and also what affect the planet over the period of time. Education requirement for this profile vary as per the field chosen but a graduation degree is must. Teaching and researcher job requires a graduate degree and for few of the places a license is necessary for a geologist. There are many important aspects of earth’s composition and processes that a geologist studies, such as:

    • Natural hazards like Volcanoes, floods, earthquakes, landslides:
      We all know the level of damage that these natural disasters cause and therefore, while avoiding them is not an option most of the times, it is more in the favor of the humankind to predict the possible timing of such events so that damage to life can be minimized. Geologists work to understand the earth processes that lead to these events and help in creating the hazardous zones which are prone to natural disasters. These maps can be used as reference to avoid any form of human establishment there.
    • Elemental composition:
      Mankind has developed ways to extract all kinds of minerals from rocks and earth’s crust. Had it not been for the expertise of geologists this would not have been possible.  Everything that we use today, right from a computer, to agricultural machinery is formed from a mixture of these minerals. Geologists conduct studies that locate rocks and areas rich in a particular mineral, metal and chalk out the maps, and methods to extract the metals from the rocks. Similarly, the geologists use their expertise to produce oil, natural gas and even groundwater.

    Career Information

    The major task of a geologist includes preparation and study of the earth, to deeply understand and analyze the system so that they can understand about the changes in the past and how it can effect in future. This work also involves collecting samples of water, soil, analyzing fossil and at the end preparing the reports based on all the materials collected. There are lots of career opportunities available for a geologist in different sectors. It completely depends upon your interest and forte.

    Different Job Options

    Majority of candidates prefer to opt for their area of focus which includes mineralogy, volcanology, oceanography etc. Several opportunities are available in the oil and gas, mineral, environment, government and education industries.
    Role of a geologist working in the oil and gas industry is to assist the mining companies in locating and extracting natural resources in the safest manner and it is also their responsibility to make sure that the waste products are disposed properly.

    On the other hand, environmental geologists are those who work with various private organization and the consulting firms that deals with the management of various natural resources such as water. State or federal government agencies including U.S. Geological Survey or Department of Energy, recruit geologists for various research programs and also for problem-solving projects.

    Other than these profiles, geologists are there also in the education department such as colleges and universities.

    Education Required

    For an entry-level geologist, a graduate degree is enough but for better and higher positions master degree is mandatory. In fact, for upper-level positions which include supervisory positions, research assignments and teaching positions at a university, doctorate degree is required.

    The study of geology includes mineralogy, petrology, paleontology, stratigraphy and structural geology, as well as physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering. License is must for candidates who are in the public services. Requirements may vary from place to place and from industry to industry but minimum education level and relevant experience is mandatory along with passing an exam to become a geologist.

    Career Outlook

    As per a latest survey, job prospects for geologists are really good as the number of retirees is more than the geologists passing out each year. Job opportunities are expected to grow higher in the coming years in the geosciences field.
    Salary of geologists varies with the profile and industry they are working with. An average salary for them is approximately $91,920. The highest salary is paid in the oil and gas extraction industry. The industry pays an average lucrative salary of $154,230 to their geologists. But, the vacancies in this industry vary with the current economy.  

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