Career Profile: Geologist

Career Profile: Geologist

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

For some people, one rock or bit of earth is a lot like another. Geologists, however, know that each area of the world has different types of rocks and soil. If you become a geologist, your job will be to study the world around you and to use that knowledge to help make life safer and better for others.

Suppose that you live in an area that has a lot of avalanches. As a geologist, you could study the mountains to find out where the most dangerous places are. Then people could know where to put their houses, schools, and other buildings where they will be safe.

Geologists spend a lot of time collecting samples of rock or soil and also finding out as much as they can about the earth. They create maps and diagrams of what they find and then use them to help others who need information for projects that they are working on. They might assess the impact of a mining project on the environment or work with a power company to see how an oil pipeline or hydro project might affect the environment.

Geologists need a lot of education. The sciences like chemistry and physics are important in their training. They also need to know mathematics to be able to make calculations about distances or other factors. They should know how to read maps and be able to draw. These are some of the things that you can already start to practice now. If you have a chance to take courses in the sciences, that can be a good way of getting a background in the kinds of things you will need to know.

In most cases, university training is necessary for geologists. The minimum requirement is a Bachelor’s degree, but a Master’s or PhD might be needed, especially for anyone who wants to teach. Geologists can find work in universities, research centres, and maybe even weather centres or private companies. Salaries usually start at about $36,000 per year, but they can rise to $75,000 as people get more experience. People generally stay in this field for about twenty years, but some stay much longer.

Part of being a geologist is going outside to collect samples. This can be unpleasant when the weather is bad, but it is necessary. Working in a laboratory to analyze the samples and then writing reports can be tiring, but it is necessary to make the information available to others. Geologists might have to go to conferences and present papers on their research. They might be part of a large team of scientists or be one of only a few in their area.

Working as a geologist can be physically demanding when it involves going out collecting samples, but otherwise it is normally a fairly quiet office job with a lot of reading and writing. Geologists need to be sure that they keep up with the latest research, and they might need to keep on taking courses throughout their careers. For people who love to learn, this could be the perfect job.


Career Planner.com. “Geologists.” https://job-descriptions.careerplanner.com/Geologists.cfm

Eco Canada. “Environmental Geologist.” http://www.eco.ca/career-profiles/environmental-geologist/

Learn.org. “How to Become a Geologist in 5 Steps.” https://learn.org/articles/Geology_How_to_Become_a_Geologist_in_5_Steps.html.

Payscale Canada. “Geologist Salary.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Geologist/Salary.

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