Geology And Geophysics

How to become a Geologist



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Geology uses physics, biology, chemistry and math to investigate the earth's origin and history. Geology can pay quite well, if you are in the right field. Here are some tips on how to become a well-paid geologist.

Geology is an applied science. This means that the practice of geology is applying scientific knowledge to solve practical problems. Geologists are scientific "jacks of all trade," using advanced concepts from many other disciplines such as physics and mathematics in their daily work. Geology can also be the adventurer's discipline, as it can involve substantial periods exploring geological questions outside the lab and in the great outdoors.

Working geologists can have a diverse academic background. A bachelor's degree in geology from an accredited four-year college or university can get you started in the profession. The further you develop your academic credentials and a particular specialization, the more opportunities you will have in the profession.

Today, geologists work in many different fields. Some of the currently leading fields are: environmental scientist, hydrologist, mining engineering, petroleum engineering, and academics. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the starting salary for a geologist with a bachelor's degree is around $32,000. However, with advanced degrees and in certain industries like petrochemical engineering, geologists can easily earn in the six figures.

To earn a higher salary, you will need to pursue a master's degree in a particular specialty. While it isn't required to get your foot in the door for a potentially high paying job, a Ph.D, might also be necessary (particularly for employment in an academic institution).

To get started in your career as a geologist, you might find the following sources handy. They provide you with background information on the various fields and information on where, what, and how you can begin accumulating your academic credentials:

www.geology.com
An excellent overall reference and starting point

http://www.bls.gov/oco/pdf/ocos050.pdf
A good background from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/majors/brief/major_40-0601_brief.php
list of schools in the U.S. offering geology and earth science degrees

This article has focused on what you need to do to become a professional geologist. However, many people find amateur geology an equally rewarding hobby (both literally and figuratively rewarding!). All you need to do is have a passion for learning and a few decent field guides to get started. Here's a link to a couple good sources:

www.geology.com
An excellent overall reference and starting point

http://www.amazon.com/Peterson-Geology-Eastern-America-Guides/dp/0395663261
Peterson filed guides are organized by U.S. regions and are great first guides.

http://www.rockhounds.com/
an online zine for rock collectors

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