Monday, December 26, 2011

A Career as a Geoscientist

Hi, Im interested in studying a career in geology, Im 39 and I would like 
to know to your opinion the pros and cons of this career, and also Im
pretty weak at math , so I wanted to know what math subjects should I
study to prepair myself if I decide to enter college. Thanks and regards,

A career in geology is fun, and one of the advantages is it gets me out into remote - and usually amazing - field areas. Sometimes these can be dangerous (rattlesnakes, falling off a cliff, 600-kg bears, helicopter crashes etc.).

The basic minimal requirements for a job would be a BS in Geology, but a Masters Degree would get you a much better chance of being hired as something other than a low-level technician.

This education must include several things:

1. Yes, some Math. You would have to get decent grades up through calculus and statistics at a minimum. Surprisingly, geometry and trigonometry are used all the time. Geologists 30 years ago could get away with less, but the field is becoming ever more very technically oriented.

2. English and Composition. If you can't write legible or coherent reports about your work, no one will know what you did. No one would hire you, and if they did, they wouldn't keep you if you couldn't write well. People will quickly judge you by your grammar - for instance writing "Im" instead of "I'm" in a sentence.

3. Computer literacy. You may not have to code in C++ or VISUAL BASIC or JAVA (though that would definitely help), but you MUST be able to operate complex software systems designed for geology, geochemistry, and geophysics. This implies very strongly that you must also have good grades in...

4. Physics, and

5. Chemistry.

Once you get through these basic requirements, the geology classes themselves will be incredibly FUN!

However, it's sort of like that basic physics Conservation Law: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Anything worth something requires hard work to get it. A BS takes 4 - 5 years, an MS takes at least another three years, and a PhD takes another three or four years after the Masters Degree. After that, you will have to plan on starting on the ground floor, which may include riding a drilling rig and logging cores in a remote area (that's not so bad, actually - you get to read a lot). Or like me, it may include spending three years in a very dangerous jungle assessing gold resources.


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