Mining, Energy & Utilities
Geologists study the physical aspects of the earth's composition, structure and processes, to learn about its past, present, and future.
What does a Geologist do?
Geologists study the physical aspects of the earth, to learn about its past, present, and future through knowledge of its composition, structure, and processes. Geologists are also known as geoscientists.
Geology is a broad field that includes many areas such as geophysics, environmental geology, energy resources, or mining and mineral extraction.
As a geologist, you might:
- assess the ground for building suitability on engineering projects like dam or tunnel building
- advise on suitable sites for landfill or storage of nuclear waste
- search for energy resources and minerals, such as gas and oil
- design projects to search for new water supplies
- study volcanic and seismic activity to develop early warning systems for earthquake zones
- advise on civil engineering projects, or on the rehabilitation of land after mining activity.
You would use a range of investigation methods in your work, including drilling, seismic surveying, satellite and aerial imagery, and electromagnetic measurement.
Key skills and interests
To become a geologist, you would need:
- an interest in the natural world
- good scientific and technical skills
- good observation skills
- strong spoken and written communication skills
- a methodical approach, including to solving problems
- a good level of general fitness.
Working hours and conditions
Your hours of work would depend on the sector you work in. Some jobs could involve working standard hours in an office or laboratory. In other areas like drilling or testing, you may have a more irregular schedule. If you were based on an oil rig, you might spend several weeks on an offshore platform, followed by the same amount of time onshore, as leave.
Fieldwork and research trips could involve working overseas, and in differing climate zones. This type of work could be physically demanding, depending on the project and conditions.
How to become an Geologist?
Entry Level Education
To become a geologist you usually have to complete a degree in science or applied science with a major in geology, geoscience, applied geology, geophysics or earth sciences. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, chemistry, earth and environmental science, physics or biology would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Graduates may be eligible, after a qualifying period, for membership of the Geological Society of Australia, Australian Institute of Geoscientists and/or the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
Employment of geologists and geoscientists is projected to grow slightly faster than the average for all occupations.
An expanding population and the corresponding increased use of space and resources are likely to create a continued need for geologists and geoscientists.
Geologists will also be needed to study the effects of alternative mineral and gas extraction processes, such as coal seam gas, on the surrounding environment. The construction of alternative energy sources such as wind farms and solar power plants, and their impact on land and wildlife, will also need input from geologists.