What does a Geoscientists do?
Geoscientists study the Earth in many ways. They examine the geologic past and present using complex instruments. Many geoscientists help search for natural resources such as petroleum, metals, and water. Others work with other professionals to preserve, restore, and clean up the environment. Geoscientists often identify and inspect rocks, conduct geological surveys, examine information collected by satellites, create field maps, and use special instruments to measure the gravity and magnetic field of Earth. They often perform seismic studies to understand the structure of Earth’s sub layers and to search for oil and gas. They also use seismic signals produced by earthquakes to determine where the earthquake took place and its intensity. Geoscientists also study the chemical and physical characteristics of laboratory specimens and the fossil remains of plant and animal life. Geoscientists usually specialize in a specific field of geoscience such as geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and oceanography.
What kind of training does a geoscientist need?
Geoscientists need at least a bachelor degree, but most positions require a master degree in geoscience, earth science, geology, or other related field. Geoscientists in higher level teaching and research positions must have a doctorate degree. Many colleges and universities offer programs in geoscience. Coursework usually includes courses in geology, biology, mathematics, mineralogy, paleontology, petrology, and physics. Some states require geoscientists who provide services to the public to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary, but usually include minimum education and experience and passing an examination.
What are the prospects for a career as a geoscientist?
Employment of geoscientists is expected to grow must faster than average for all professions, increasing 22% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased need for environmental protection, energy, and responsible land and water management will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be excellent especially for geoscientists with master degrees. There will be many job opportunities in the engineering services industries and the scientific, management, and technical consulting industry. Job openings will also stem from the need to replace geoscientists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do geoscientists make?
As of October 2009, geoscientists with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $40,000 and $94,986. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $53,506 and $88,961 (2).
A career as a geoscientist is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in earth science. Geoscientists must be able to think logically and have complex analytical thinking to develop conclusions from data. They must have excellent oral and written communication to research proposals, explain search results, and compose technical reports. They must also have great interpersonal skills and be able to work as part of a team with other professionals.