Geologist Job Description
A geologist is a scientist who studies the rocks, soil, and minerals of the earth. Geologists explore the earth to understand how it works and predict natural hazard events such as earthquake and volcanic eruptions. Their investigations also help in locating, extracting and protecting the natural resources of the earth.
A geologist should be curious, observant, methodical, analytical and adaptable, and have the ability to interpret geological processes. They should also have good critical thinking and problem solving skills, and the ability and willingness to travel and perform field work.
Pursue a career in geology if you are good at science, geography and mathematics, and interested in studying the earth’s composition, structure and history.
What does a Geologist do?
Geologists may do some or all of the following:
- perform geological research to locate fossils, mineral resources, and underground water
- perform field inspection to observe and study the structure of an area
- collect, examine, and analyze field samples
- evaluate areas for dams, waste disposal, and construction sites
- predict natural hazard events and the potential destructions that may result
- prepare geological maps and write reports
- study the impact of human activities on the earth
- suggest ways of solving environmental problems
- explore the geological properties and characteristics of other planets in our solar system
- teach at universities and colleges
Where does a Geologist work?
Places of work for geologists include:
- Oil and gas companies
- Mining companies
- Research institutions
- Government institutions
- Non-governmental organizations
- Colleges and universities
- Architectural, engineering and science consulting firms
Geologists may work normal office hours or long and irregular hours including evenings and weekends. They work in indoors in offices, classrooms and laboratories, and outdoors in mines and on geological sites. They may travel to geological sites and work in severe weather and physically demanding conditions.
What is Required to Become a Geologist?
To become a geologist, you will need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in geology or a related discipline.
Secondary school students interested in becoming geologists should take preparatory subjects such as physics, chemistry, geography, mathematics, statistics, and computer science.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Earth history
- Physical geography
- Structural geology
- Igneous and metamorphic Petrology
- Sedimentary petrology
- Mineralogy and optical crystallography
- Geographic information systems
A geologist may specialize to become any of the following:
- Marine geologist – a geologist who studies the history and structure of the ocean floor
- Pedologist – a scientist who studies soils
- Volcanologist – a scientist who studies volcanoes
- Petrologist – a scientist who studies rocks
- Geochemist – a scientist who studies the chemical composition of the earth’s solid matter
- Geophysicist – a scientist who studies the physics and physical processes of the earth
- Geomorphologist - a scientist who studies the characteristics, origin, and development of landforms
- Seismologist – a scientist who studies earthquakes and seismic waves
- Paleontologist – a scientist who studies fossils
- Hydrogeologist – a scientist who studies water movement through rocks
- Economic geologist – a geologist who specializing in studying geological materials with industrial and economic value
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Geologists need to have:
- physical fitness
- accuracy and precision
- good memory
- good eyesight
- good attention to detail
- good listening and communication skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- observational skills
- practical skills for operating scientific equipment
- time-management and organizational skills
- math and computer skills
- the ability to work well under pressure and concentrate for long periods
- the ability to use scientific knowledge to solve problems
- the ability to work well independently and in a team
- knowledge of physics
- knowledge of chemistry
- knowledge of the structure of the earth and its constituent materials
- knowledge of geological data analysis and research methodology
- knowledge of geological tools and equipment
- knowledge of GIS and other mapping techniques
Should I be a Geologist?
Take our career test to find out if this career is ideal for you!
- Geological Technician
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