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What does a Geologist do?

Learn all about Geologist duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Geologist.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A geologist is a scientist who studies the Earth. They use their knowledge to help us understand how the Earth works and to find natural resources like oil and gas.

Geologist job duties include:

  • Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth
  • Examine minerals, rocks, and fossil remains to determine the history of the Earth and the changes that have occurred
  • Conduct field studies to collect data about geological features
  • Use GPS equipment and other technology to map geological features
  • Analyze data using computer software to create models of geological processes
  • Write reports and present findings to colleagues, clients, or government officials
  • Teach students about geological concepts at the college level
  • Work with environmental engineers to assess the impact of human activity on the environment
  • Serve as consultants for businesses or governments planning construction projects in areas with potential geological hazards

Geologist Job Requirements

A geologist typically needs a bachelor's degree in geology or a related field, such as environmental science. Some positions may require a master's degree or doctorate. Certification is not required, but it may be helpful in landing a job. Employers also value work experience, so internships or other experience in the field is often required.

Geologist Skills

  • Rock and mineral identification
  • Geological mapping
  • Stratigraphy
  • Sedimentology
  • Palaeontology
  • Volcanology
  • Earthquakes
  • Plate tectonics
  • Hydrogeology
  • Soil science
  • Environmental geology

Related: Top Geologist Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Geologist

A geologist is a scientist who studies the Earth, its composition and processes. Geologists work in a variety of settings, including universities, government agencies, and private industry. Some geologists work as consultants to industries such as mining or oil and gas exploration.

To become a geologist, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in geology or a related field such as earth science or environmental science. Many geologists also earn master’s degrees or doctorates. A Ph.D. is required for most research positions and for teaching at some colleges and universities.

Most entry-level jobs in geology require only a bachelor’s degree, but advanced positions may require additional education and experience. Many geologists begin their careers working in the field, conducting research or performing environmental impact studies. As they gain experience, they may move into management positions or become consultants.

If you are interested in becoming a geologist, you should take courses in physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics in addition to courses in geology. You should also consider participating in internships or cooperative education programs to gain practical experience.

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