Is becoming a geologist right for me?
The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:
Still unsure if becoming a geologist is the right career path? Take the free CareerExplorer career test to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a geologist or another similar career!
Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.
How to become a Geologist
Becoming a geologist typically involves obtaining a bachelor's degree in geology or a related field, followed by further education or work experience in the field. Here are the detailed steps to become a geologist:
- Get a bachelor's degree: The first step to becoming a geologist is to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Geology or a related field such as earth science, environmental science, or geological engineering. Many universities and colleges offer geology programs, which typically take four years to complete. A strong foundation in geology and related subjects such as physics, chemistry, and math is essential.
- Gain field experience: Geologists spend a lot of time in the field, studying rocks, minerals, and the earth's processes. You can gain field experience by participating in field trips, internships, or research projects while in college. Some universities also offer summer field camps where students can gain hands-on experience in the field.
- Pursue a master's degree: While a bachelor's degree may be enough to get an entry-level job as a geologist, many positions require a Master's Degree in Geology or a related field. A master's degree typically takes two years to complete and involves advanced coursework and research.
- Obtain relevant certifications: Geologists can obtain certification from professional organizations such as the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG). Certification can demonstrate a geologist's expertise and knowledge in the field and can enhance job prospects.
- Gain work experience: After completing your education and obtaining any necessary certifications, you can start looking for job opportunities in the field. Geologists can work in a variety of industries, including oil and gas, mining, environmental consulting, and government agencies. Entry-level positions typically involve fieldwork, data collection, and analysis, while more advanced positions may involve project management, research, or teaching.
- Consider pursuing a Ph.D.: Geologists who want to work in academia or conduct research may need to pursue a Ph.D. in Geology or a related field. A Ph.D. typically takes four to six years to complete and involves advanced research and coursework. Ph.D. holders can also pursue positions in government agencies, consulting firms, and other industries.
There are several certifications available for geologists that can enhance their job prospects and demonstrate their expertise in the field. Here are some of the most common certifications for geologists:
- Professional Geologist (PG): The Professional Geologist certification is offered by the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) and requires a combination of education, work experience, and passing an exam. The PG certification is widely recognized and can demonstrate a geologist's expertise and professionalism.
- Certified Engineering Geologist (CEG): The Certified Engineering Geologist certification is offered by the California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists and requires a combination of education, work experience, and passing an exam. The CEG certification is specific to engineering geology and can demonstrate a geologist's ability to work on geotechnical and geological engineering projects.
- Certified Hydrogeologist (CHG): The Certified Hydrogeologist certification is offered by the National Ground Water Association and requires a combination of education, work experience, and passing an exam. The CHG certification is specific to groundwater and can demonstrate a geologist's expertise in this area.
- Registered Geologist (RG): The Registered Geologist certification is offered by some state licensing boards and requires a combination of education, work experience, and passing an exam. The RG certification is state-specific and can demonstrate a geologist's ability to work on geological projects within that state.
- Certified Professional Geologist (CPG): The Certified Professional Geologist certification is offered by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and requires a combination of education, work experience, and passing an exam. The CPG certification is specific to the petroleum industry and can demonstrate a geologist's ability to work on oil and gas projects.
There are many helpful resources available for geologists to enhance their knowledge, stay up-to-date with the latest research and trends in the field, and connect with other professionals. Here are some of the most useful resources for geologists:
- Geological Society of America (GSA): GSA is a professional organization for geoscientists that offers publications, conferences, and other resources for its members. It also provides information on job opportunities and career development.
- American Geosciences Institute (AGI): AGI is a nonprofit organization that represents and advocates for the geoscience community. It offers resources for students, educators, and professionals, including career advice, research publications, and data and mapping tools.
- US Geological Survey (USGS): The USGS is a federal agency that conducts research and provides information on natural resources, hazards, and the environment. Its website offers a wealth of data, maps, and reports on geology and related fields.
- International Association for Geoscience Diversity (IAGD): IAGD is a global network of geoscientists and educators who promote accessibility and inclusion in geoscience education and careers. Its website offers resources on accessibility in fieldwork, teaching, and other aspects of geoscience.
- Geology.com: Geology.com is a website that provides information and resources on geology, including news, maps, and articles on a variety of geologic topics.
- Earth Science World Image Bank: The Earth Science World Image Bank is a collection of photographs, diagrams, and illustrations related to geology and earth science. It can be a helpful resource for students and educators.
- LinkedIn Groups: There are many LinkedIn groups focused on geology and related fields, where professionals can connect, share information, and discuss industry trends and issues.