Is becoming a paleontologist 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 paleontologist 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 paleontologist 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 Paleontologist
Having a major in one of these areas and a minor in the other is a great way to gain necessary background knowledge. Having a double-major is, of course, ideal. Statistical analysis and computer skills are also necessary, and it is recommended that these be pursued during the undergraduate years.
Further education is required in order to work as a paleontologist. Students will need to get a Master’s or Doctoral degree in Paleontology. Some graduate schools offer a combined Master’s/Ph.D program. All programs at the graduate level have a strong emphasis on field-based research in both modern and ancient settings.
It is important to speak to your professors early on to see if they can point you in the direction of volunteer or paid fieldwork and research opportunities, as it is an important element of paleontological training. It is also a great way to network with professionals in the field.