What are the Different Geologist Jobs?

Geologists study the physical processes and phenomena that occur on Earth, such as the formation of mountains and rivers, the movement of continents, volcanic activity, and rock cycles. Geology is a very broad scientific field, and each subfield has a variety of geologist jobs. Private research institutions, engineering firms, nonprofit environmental organizations, government agencies, and universities employ the majority of geologists.

Many geologists conduct extensive field and laboratory research in a variety of specialization areas. He or she could focus on volcanoes, glaciers, earthquakes, or oceans only. Paleontologists examine fossils, petrified wood, and other ancient plant and animal remains, while geochemists study the chemical composition of rocks and sediments and how it changes over time. Petroleum geologists are experts in identifying potential oil reserves for future excavation projects. Many research geologists document their findings and experiments in scientific papers.

Many geologists work for engineering and architectural firms, where they survey land and determine the safest, most efficient strategies for constructing large structures like buildings and bridges. They consider the potential environmental impacts of a construction project on specific sites when determining the best location for pillars and foundations. To avoid an unintentional landslide or collapse, geologists must ensure that the ground is stable and that the foundation is structurally sound.

Surveying, conservation, and education are common activities for geologists who work for the government or nonprofit organizations. Experts frequently conduct field research to determine the impact of human activity on the planet. They may collect soil and rock samples to assess pollution levels and track changes in climate patterns, humidity, and air composition over time. Scientists may give tours of important sites or provide educational materials on how to better protect the earth and the environment to the general public. Some scientists choose to become university professors, teaching future geologists in the classroom and on the field.

A master’s degree from an accredited university is typically required for employment in the field of geology. A PhD is required for advanced research geologist jobs, project supervisor positions, and university professorships. Most new geologists spend up to two years as an apprentice or assistant to more experienced geologists, gaining valuable hands-on experience before embarking on their own research. Geologist jobs with the government or engineering firms frequently require additional licensing, which can be obtained passing a written exam administered a person’s state or country.