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How to Become a Geoscientist

If you are fascinated about the origin and structure of the Earth and if you possess a scientific mind, a career as a Geoscientist could be a rewarding option.

Geoscientists or geologists are trained professional who study the structure of the Earth, explore its natural mineral and energy resources, and analyze various rocks. Their primary job is to unleash the history of our planet Earth and take the study to a new level for future developments.

Job

As a geoscientist, you are expected to perform investigations using various methods and you may have to perform various tasks such as:

  • To assess the ground suitability for building a project
  • Searching for sites rich in energy resources and minerals, such as gas and oil
  • Locating sites suitable for landfill or storage of nuclear waste
  • Working on locations suitable for new water supplies
  • Developing early warning systems in areas prone to volcanic or seismic activities

In this profession, you may choose to specialize in one of the many areas such as geophysics, environmental geology, natural hazards, energy resources, or mining and extraction.

Working Hours and Conditions

The number of working hours in this job depends on the area of specialization. In certain jobs, you are employed 9am to 5pm during week days and you based in an office or laboratory.

But in other areas like drilling or testing, your schedule may vary and you may have to work for longer hours. Your work in such jobs is based both in an office as well as on field.

Remuneration Scheme

Salaries for geoscientists may vary depending upon the location and area of work. People employed in remote locations or in the oil and gas industries usually earn higher salaries.

Starting salaries 

 £22,000 to £35,000 a year

 After experience

 £50,000 or more a year

Source: nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk

Education

To become a professional geoscientist, you must hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject such as:

  • Geology
  • Geo science
  • Earth science

To branch off into a specialist area of geology, you may consider studying subjects such as geology or geophysics.

Since the profession is gaining popularity, you need to be highly competitive and it is advantageous to work towards postgraduate qualifications such as an M.Sc. or Ph.D. There are various integrated master’s qualifications such as M.Geol or M.Science also offered at various universities.

To be eligible for a degree program, you usually need five GCSEs (A-C) including Mathematics, English and Science, plus three A levels. Preferred subjects are Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology and a mathematical subject.

To search for Geological Society accredited courses, you may refer to following links:

Training

Once employed, you are usually trained on-the-job by your employer. Your employer may encourage you to work towards various short courses or towards a postgraduate qualification such as an M.Sc. or a Ph.D. on a part-time basis.

You may also consider joining a professional body such as the Geological Society to gain access to their online Continuing Professional Development scheme, professional recognition and networking events.

To show your commitment towards your work and to demonstrate your professional competence you may apply to the Geological Society for Chartered Geologist (CGeol) or Chartered Scientist (CSci) status.

Skills and Interests Needed

To be a successful geoscientist, it is vital that you demonstrate the following:

  • Keen observational skills
  • Scientific and technical know-how
  • Great interest in nature
  • Impeccable communication skills
  • Methodical approach
  • Problem solving skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Be able to work both independently as well as a part of team
  • Physical fitness
  • Analytical skills to study statistical and graphical data
  • Willingness to travel and be able to stay away from home for long periods

Career Prospects

As a trained geoscientist, you may find employment with various industries such as oil and gas, petroleum, etc. Employment opportunities may vary depending upon the discovery and demand of fossil fuel reserves.

The dominating employers in this sector in the UK are:

The British Geological Survey, which is part of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Environment Agency.

After significant experience, your career may progress towards a consultant position, or you may consider moving into other areas of work such as teaching or management.

Last word: This job is certainly alluring, but is only rewarding if you have a lot of physical strength and a great scientific mind. You should not choose this career path if it is just the job title of a scientist attracts you.

Image source: Planet Layer