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Geoscientist Geologist

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Geoscientists study the Earth's structure and formation, and analyse rocks to explore its natural mineral and energy resources.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £75,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need a degree in a relevant subject like:

  • Earth science
  • environmental geology
  • geology
  • geophysics
  • geoscience

Some employers may expect you to have, or be working towards, a postgraduate qualification like an MSc, MGeol, MSci or PhD.

The Geological Society has more information on becoming a geoscientist.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • scientific and technical skills
  • observational skills
  • a methodical approach, including problem solving
  • the ability to work with statistical and graphical information

3. What you'll do

You’ll use a range of investigation methods, including drilling, seismic surveying, satellite and aerial imagery, and electromagnetic measurement.
Geoscience is a broad subject. You could specialise in an area like geophysics, environmental geology, natural hazards, energy resources, or mining and extraction.

You’ll use your knowledge and expertise in a number of ways, like:

  • assessing the ground for building suitability on engineering projects like dam or tunnel building
  • advising on suitable sites for landfill or storage of nuclear waste
  • searching for energy resources and minerals, like gas and oil
  • designing projects to search for new water supplies
  • studying volcanic and seismic activity to develop early warning systems for communities living close to earthquake zones

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000 to £35,000

Experienced: £50,000

Highly Experienced: up to £75,000 (consultant)

You may earn a higher salary if you work in remote areas or in the oil and gas industries.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Some jobs involve working 9am to 5pm in an office or laboratory, but you may work longer hours in areas like drilling or testing. 

If you’re based on an oil rig, you’ll spend several weeks on an offshore platform.

You could work anywhere in the UK or overseas.

The work can be physically demanding.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress towards a consultant position, or move into teaching or management. 

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Last updated: 13 September 2018