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Career profile Geologist

Also known as Engineering Geologist, Environmental Protection Geologist, Exploration Geologist, Geological Specialist, Geologist, Geophysicist, Geoscientist, Hydrogeologist, Mine Geologist, Project Geologist

Geologist

Also known as Engineering Geologist, Environmental Protection Geologist, Exploration Geologist

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$51,890 - $201,150 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Speaking
  • Science
Knowledge Areas
  • Geography
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
Core tasks
  • Analyze and interpret geological data, using computer software.
  • Plan or conduct geological, geochemical, or geophysical field studies or surveys, sample collection, or drilling and testing programs used to collect data for research or application.
  • Investigate the composition, structure, or history of the Earth's crust through the collection, examination, measurement, or classification of soils, minerals, rocks, or fossil remains.
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What does a Geologist do?

Geologists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth.

In addition, Geologists

  • may use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, minerals, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems,
  • may study the Earth's internal composition, atmospheres, and oceans, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces,
  • includes mineralogists, paleontologists, stratigraphers, geodesists, and seismologists.

What kind of tasks does a Geologist perform regularly?

Geologists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Analyze and interpret geological data, using computer software.
  • Plan or conduct geological, geochemical, or geophysical field studies or surveys, sample collection, or drilling and testing programs used to collect data for research or application.
  • Investigate the composition, structure, or history of the Earth's crust through the collection, examination, measurement, or classification of soils, minerals, rocks, or fossil remains.
  • Analyze and interpret geological, geochemical, or geophysical information from sources, such as survey data, well logs, bore holes, or aerial photos.
  • Identify risks for natural disasters, such as mudslides, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions.
  • Prepare geological maps, cross-sectional diagrams, charts, or reports concerning mineral extraction, land use, or resource management, using results of fieldwork or laboratory research.
  • Communicate geological findings by writing research papers, participating in conferences, or teaching geological science at universities.
  • Locate and estimate probable natural gas, oil, or mineral ore deposits or underground water resources, using aerial photographs, charts, or research or survey results.
  • Locate and review research articles or environmental, historical, or technical reports.
  • Measure characteristics of the Earth, such as gravity or magnetic fields, using equipment such as seismographs, gravimeters, torsion balances, or magnetometers.
  • Advise construction firms or government agencies on dam or road construction, foundation design, land use, or resource management.
  • Conduct geological or geophysical studies to provide information for use in regional development, site selection, or development of public works projects.
  • Review environmental, historical, or technical reports and publications for accuracy.

The above responsibilities are specific to Geologists. More generally, Geologists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Geologist salary?

The median salary for a Geologist is $93,580, and the average salary is $112,110. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Geologist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Geologists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Geologists earn less than $51,890 per year, 25% earn less than $66,500, 75% earn less than $136,020, and 90% earn less than $201,150.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Geologists is expected to change by 6.9%, and there should be roughly 3,100 open positions for Geologists every year.

Median annual salary
$93,580
Typical salary range
$51,890 - $201,150
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
6.9%

What personality traits are common among Geologists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Geologist are usually higher in their Investigative and Realistic interests.

Geologists typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Geologists typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Geologist tend to value Independence, Achievement, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Geologists strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Geologists strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Geologists strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Geologists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as analytical thinking, integrity, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Geologists, ranked by importance:

Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Geologists need?

Many Geologists have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Geologists may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Geologists

  • 45.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 41.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 13.9% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Geologists

Geologists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as geography, mathematics, or chemistry knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Geologists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Geography
Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Chemistry
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Physics
Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Important Abilities needed by Geologists

Geologists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Geologists need abilities such as written comprehension, inductive reasoning, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Geologists, ranked by their relative importance.

Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Geologists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Geologists frequently use skills like reading comprehension, speaking, and science to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Geologists, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Science
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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