What Does a Geologist Do? – How to Become a Geologist

how to become a geologist

Before you start looking at how to become a geologist, you might want to look into what a geologist actually does. Geologists study rock formations as well as rocks and soil in various environments. This is one of the oldest sciences and is very important for a number of reasons.

What Is a Geologist?

Geology is a science concerned with the solid Earth, rocks of which it is composed, and processes by which they change over time. A geologist studies the effect of natural processes on soil and rocks as well as how rocks affect the environment around them. Rocks can have an effect on river formation, the pH of soils and even determine plants and animals that live in specific environments. Geologists also investigate volcanoes, earthquakes, and mudslides based on their studies of the earth.

Where Do Geologists Work?

Some geologists work in the petrochemical industry as prospectors. Some may work in fields related to the mining of ores including precious metals and coal. Around 25% of geologists work in fields related to the oil and gas industry. Many geologists work in engineering, technical, and advisory fields. Some may work in government departments as well as in education or research.

What Is Needed to Become a Geologist?

When you are looking at how to become a geologist, you need to ensure that you start off with a good education. A Bachelor of Science in Geology or related fields is a prerequisite. Some states in the US require geologists to be licensed or registered.

As a geologist, you need to be able to work outdoors in many different environments, some of which can be quite harsh. You need to get experience in a variety of industries such as environmental assessments, mining, and land development.

Reports and paperwork are required in this field. You must also be willing to travel depending on the type of geologist you are wanting to be. Good communication skills and ability to work in a team are also essential. You need to be analytical and technically minded. In some areas, you will also need further permits to work (such as in mines).

Is There a Demand for Geologists?

Before looking at how to become a geologist, you might also want to determine the chances of becoming gainfully employed after completing your degree and field experience. There is an increased demand of around 10% expected within a 10-year period. Most of the jobs will be fossil fuel and petrochemical related. There is already a shortage of geologists in these fields so the demand is high. These shortages may also lead to increased salaries for geologists across the oil and gas industry. There has already been a 100% increase in pay over the past decade for people working as geologists in the field.


Now you know how to become a geologist, what is required from you, as well as some ideas of the fields you can work in. On average, entry-level geologists earn $92,000 per year. If you are interested in rocks and the history and environmental impact of the basic components that make up our planet, then geology is a field that you may want to consider.

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