How to Become a Geologist
Job Duties of a Geologist
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become a Geologist
Geologist Salary
Influential Professionals in Geologist Field
Leading Organizations for Geologists
Top Cities for Geology Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Geologist

Geology can be a fascinating career for individuals interested in rocks, minerals, and fossils. Those interested in pursuing a career in this field will need a bachelor's degree in geology, even for entry level positions. Coursework should include earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and math. Familiarity with mapping techniques including GIS is also important. Many geology students spend portions of school breaks working the field with faculty members. Many geologists continue with their education to earn advanced degrees and gain more training, often in a subspecialty. Geology subspecialties include paleontology, mineralogy, hydrology, volcanology. Advanced degrees will qualify geologists to take on teaching or supervisory roles.

What does a Geologist do?

Geologists study the earth and the processes that shape it in order to better understand the history of our planet. They then try to apply this understanding to try to foresee how past and present geological events will shape the future. They can be found in many settings from environmental consulting firms and government agencies to universities. Nearly all geologists spend at least some time in the field. The rest of the time, they can be found in labs, offices, and classrooms. Geologists prepare reports on their field findings, do calculations with their findings, and use computers.

Geologists employed by governments usually plan and evaluate construction and environmental projects. They may also plan for natural disasters and investigate the natural resources of an area. Exploration geologists use all aspects of geology to search for natural resources and are often employed by mining or petroleum companies. ,Engineering geologists are called upon to investigate the geological hazards or constraints of planned projects.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Geologist?

,b>Geologists should be interested in rocks, minerals, and fossils and enjoy working in the outdoors. All geologists write reports, so those interested in working in this field need to be able to express themselves in writing. Math and computer skills are also used in every subspecialty in geology.

How much does a Geologist make?

The potential earnings of a geologist vary depending on each individual's skill, experience, and subfield specialty. Geologists. in entry level positions made a median annual salary of $42,015 with the middle fifty percent earning between $37,623 and $46,406 each year. Those in mid-level positions have a median reported annual income of $50,069 with the middle fifty percent earning between $44,548 and $55,590 each year. Geologists who work as consultants or project leaders can expect to find positions with median annual incomes of $84,891. The middle fifty percent of this group of geologists earned between $64,656 and $105,126 during 2007.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Clair Patterson (1922-1995) is considered by many to be the most influential,b> geologist of the century. Patterson is credited with creating the first "clean lab" due to his efforts to eradicate lead from his testing environment while trying to calculate the age of the earth. He was the first to realize and draw attention to the dangers of lead in the environment and began a campaign that resulted the passage of the Clean Air Act. After seven years of research, Patterson successfully calculated the most accurate age of the earth and solar system (4.55 billion years old), a figure that has remained unchallenged for more than fifty years.

,b>Walter Alvarez is a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California at Berkley. Alvarez is most widely known for the discovery he and his father, Luis W. Alvarez, made with Frank Asaro and Helen Michel that a clay layer at boundary of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary is high in iridium. Because iridium is common in asteroids but rare on earth, this discovery lead to the team to theorize that an asteroid hit the earth at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago and was the likely cause for the extinction of 85% of life on earth, including the dinosaurs. Alvarez's work has also furthered understanding of Mediterranean tectonics, Roman geology, the establishment of magnetostratigraphic correlations. Professor Alvarez has received many awards including the Geological Society of America's highest honor, the Penrose Medal.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The American Geological Institute (AGI) was founded in 1948 and is a federation of 44 geoscientific professional associations and claims a membership of more than 120,000 earth scientists. This organization is based out of Alexandria, Virginia and plays an important role in strengthening geoscience education and public awareness of the importance of geosciences in society's use of and interaction with the environment.

The Geological Society of America (GSA) was established in 1888 and is based out of Boulder, Colorado. The GSA is the first enduring society for the geosciences in the United States. More than 21,600 professionals claim membership in this organization that offers meetings and conferences, scientific publications, research grants, assistance to teachers involved in geoscience education, and a mission to increase public awareness of the importance of this field.

What are the top cities for Geology jobs?

Currently, best city by far for aspiring geologists to look work is Houston, Texas. Those who prefer the west coast of the United States should be able to find work in Sacramento or Pasadena, California. Another city with several current openings is Phoenix, Arizona.

Other Careers of Interest

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Cartographers map the surface of the Earth. Their job duties involve collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and mapping the information from geographic...

Chemists seek out new knowledge about chemicals and apply that knowledge in a myriad of settings. Chemical research has discovered and developed...

Conservationists, or environmental scientists, work to protect the environment. Using an education in physical science, conservationists identify,...

Ecologists are scientists that study the intricate relationships that exist between organizations in a particular environment or groups of environments....

Entomologists are scientists that study insects, primarily. The word "entomology" is derived from the Greek meaning "segmented", i.e. insects which...

A geographer is a scientist who studies the physical environment of the earth, human habitat, and the interactions between the two. Geographers...

Geoscientists study the physical dimensions of the earth both in the present and in the past. Geology and geophysics are the two major subdivisions...

Horticulture is the art and science of the cultivation of plants. Horticulturists are specialists in the large-scale growing of fruits, vegetables,...

Marine Biologist
Marine Biology is a form of Biological Science. Marine biologists study ocean life and its relationship to the environment. Studies may be performed...

Meteorologist / Weather Forecaster
A meteorologist will study atmospheric conditions that he or she will then use as a way to help forecast the weather. Some meteorologists will...

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An oceanographer studies the ocean by collecting samples and gathering information by observation and measurement. As a whole, an oceanographer...

Paleontologist are scientist whose main purpose is to study fossils of living organisms and animals for the purpose of learning what the earth was...

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