This article contains information on what you can do with a geology degree.
Many students who couldn’t secure admission in Engineering often went for geology. That was exactly the case with my brother who was denied admission. He was advised to apply for Geology with the reason that Engineering and Geology are closely related. That he did but unfortunately, he was given a related course, Environmental Technology.
Geology which is otherwise known as geoscience is the science that studies the Earth, the materials of which it is made, the structure and composition of those materials, and the processes that act on them. It can also involve the study of organisms that have inhabited the planet Earth. Another interesting aspect of Geology is the study of how the components and structures of the earth change over time.
Geology is a course that encompasses methods and knowledge from biology, physics, mathematics and chemistry. With it, anyone who intends to study this course must have a combination of these subjects to qualify.
As a geology student, you will be exposed to a range of topics such as the origins and development of landscapes, volcanoes, earthquakes, sustainability, water composition and processes, glaciers, floods, mathematical and geophysical tools, data analysis, groundwater flow, the interaction between humans and the planet. Topics on interactions between and the planet are not left out also.
Nature Of The Work
Unlike many scientists, geologists mostly work outdoors and in the laboratory. Others spend their time in laboratories, classrooms or offices. All geologists prepare reports, use computers and do calculations. It can not be escaped.
Sometimes, a Geologist is required to travel regularly around the world. Many geologists do field work at least part of the time.
Those in this field work in a variety of settings with potential employers which may include; natural resource companies, environmental consulting companies, government agencies, nuclear research bodies and commissions,construction companies, waste management agencies and universities.
Important Qualities of a Geologist
As a Geologist who has been thoroughly exposed to the rudiments of the course as student, you’re expected to possess the some transferable skills which includes;
1. Communication skills
As a Geologist, you will write reports and research results. This skill will enable you to present your findings clearly to other scientists, team members as well as clients who do not have a background knowledge in geology (geoscience).
2. Critical-thinking skills
Geoscientists base their findings on sound observation and careful analysis and evaluation of data.
2. Problem-solving skills
Geology is an interesting and adventurous field. However, working on complex projects filled with challenges is inevitable. Evaluating statistical data and other forms of information in order to make judgments require a special ability to perceive and address problems.
3. Outdoor skills
Geoscientists may spend significant time outdoors. A person in this field is required to be conversant with outdoor activities. Camping and hiking and a general sense of comfort when outdoors for a long period is useful and paramount when performing fieldworks.
4. Physical stamina
This is highly useful for outdoor duties.
Geoscientists may need to hike to remote locations while carrying testing and sampling equipment when they conduct fieldwork. A person who lacks physical stamina may not stand this.
Although a bachelor’s degree is required for entry-level employment, many geologists earn master’s and/or doctorate degrees. The advanced degrees provide a higher level of training, mostly in a geology specialty such as paleontology, volcanology, mineralogy and hydrology, Advanced degrees will often qualify the geologist for research assignments, supervisory positions and teaching positions at the universities. These are some of the most sought-after jobs in the field of geology.
Generally, employment opportunities for geologists are numerous. Most geology graduates with a strong academic background and good grades have no trouble finding employment if they are willing to move to a location where work is available. On this note, below are things you can do with a degree in Geology.
- Geotechnical engineer
- Engineering geologist
- Drilling engineer
- Minerals surveyor
- Wellsite geologist
- Environmental engineer
- Environmental consultant
- Sustainability consultant
- Quarry manager, etc.
1. GEOLOGICAL AND PETROLEUM TECHNICIAN
Geological and petroleum technicians provide support to scientists and engineers in exploring and extracting natural resources, such as minerals, oil, and natural gas.
Your role as a hydrogeologist will be to study the distribution, flow and quality of underground water as opposed to hydrologists who are primarily concerned with surface water.Hydrologists study how water moves through the Earth’s crust. They use their expertise to solve problems in the areas of water quality or availability.
Therefore, as a hydrologist or hydrogeologist, you’ll make a significant contribution to the environment by working to secure and manage water resources
As a hydrogeologist, you’ll be required to:
- Apply the knowledge of the fundamentals of geology to develop an understanding of how rock types and structure in an area impact on groundwater occurrence and movement.
- Understand and interpret maps, geographical data, historical evidence to build up a picture of the groundwater regime and/or land contamination, often based on incomplete information.
- Undertake field work and site visits for investigative and monitoring purposes
- Model groundwater flow, chemistry and temperature according to geological formations, surface water flow and man-made influence either the use of computers.
- Analyse collected information, to assess and predict the impact of activities such as landfills, construction developments and mining or agriculture, on groundwater quality and resource availability
- Liaise with other hydrogeologists, hydrologists, ecologists, engineers and other professionals in related fields.
- Ensure compliance with environmental legislation and keep up to date with technological and legislative developments.
- Write reports for clients, which can be understood by people who don’t necessarily have a technical background.
- Work within health and safety guidelines.
3. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTISTS/CONSULTANTS
Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. They may clean up polluted areas, advise policymakers, or work with industry to reduce waste and spillage.
As an Environmental scientist/like consultant, you may work on varieties of environmental issues or specialise in one area, such as:
- land, air and water contamination
- environmental impact assessment and flood risk
- waste management and recycling
- renewable energy opportunities
- emissions and climate change
- environmental management systems.
As an environmental consultant, you’ll be required to:
- Conduct field surveys and collect data about levels of pollution or contamination on a site or area of consideration,
- Advise on best courses of action based on research findings,
- Write reports and share findings with multi-disciplinary colleagues, clients, sub-contractors (such as analytical laboratories) and regulations,
- Make researches on previous investigations of a site in order to provide information to clients
- Undertake fieldwork to ascertain previous activities on the site and any possible contamination
- Look at the suitability of new developments, like housing, power stations, wind farms or other large sites that may impact the environment
- Manage legislative issues for clients and maintain an awareness of the impacts of the legislature on projects.
4. ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER
Environmental Engineers are involved in managing and reducing waste and reducing pollution in order to protect and preserve the planet. This is done through the use of principles of engineering, soil science, chemistry and biology, to develop solutions to environmental problems.
As an Environmental Engineer, you’ll be concerned with issues related to climate change, drought, population growth, pollution, deforestation, urbanisation and the energy crisis. Your work may cover specific areas, such as:
Disposal of waste products such as water and plastics, particularly high-volume industrial waste environmental compliance, ensuring minimal environmental impact from spills or emissions, management of pollutants that can harm the natural environment, water supply and sanitation, etc.
Responsibilities of a Environmental Engineer
As an Environmental Engineer, your duties includes:
- Evaluating the environmental impact of the project, hazard or commercial operation
- Gathering data from a range of sources through site assessments, third party reports and environmental monitoring.
- Creating plans to protect and restore the environment by removing water, air and land contaminants.
- Development of site-specific health and safety plans such as spill contingency plans, methods for loading and transporting raw materials
- Implement, managing and supervision of the day-to-day tasks of construction.
- Communicating with sensitive stakeholders such as local residents in order to minimise the impacts of projects on the community
- Provision of advice to work alongside other professionals, such as environmental scientists, planners, construction workers, lawyers and landowners to address environmental problems and promote environmental sustainability
- It may also be possible to move into environmental engineering from other related occupations, such as environmental consultancy or sustainability.
- Although you don’t usually need a postgraduate qualification, a Masters in areas such as environmental monitoring, contaminated land or environmental engineering may make you more attractive to an employer.
5. MINING AND GEOLOGICAL ENGINEERS
Mining and geological engineers design mines to safely and efficiently remove minerals such as coal and metals for use in manufacturing and utilities.
6. NATURAL SCIENCES MANAGERS
Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. They direct activities related to research and development, and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production.
7. FIELD TECHNICIAN
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, rail transportation, and other industries.
Seismologists study earthquakes and related phenomena, such as tsunamis. They use seismographs and other instruments to collect data on these events.
This field has different areas of specialty including Marine Seismology, Volcano Seismology, Earthquake seismology.
Marine seismology involves making observations at sea. Because oceans cover most of the plate boundaries, earthquakes occur mostly beneath the sea floor. This provides a strong incentive to observe and study earthquakes at sea near the sources.
Volcano seismology is a field of volcanology in which seismological techniques are employed to help understand the physical conditions and dynamic states of volcanic systems.
With a degree in Geology, you can never go wrong with this choice of career.
9. DRILLING ENGINEER
Drilling engineers are very vital in the petroleum industry for managing the safe and efficient drilling of wells to procure oil or gas.
As a drilling engineer, you’ll plan, develop and supervise the operations necessary for drilling oil and gas wells. In this role you can work on land, on offshore platforms or on mobile drilling units, majorly employed either by the operating oil company, a specialist drilling contractor or a service company.
As a drilling engineer, you’ll need to:
- Prepare well data sheets
- Design and select well-head equipment
- Draw up drilling programmes, taking account of desired production flow rates
- Obtain relevant data, carrying out engineering analysis on site, recommending necessary actions and writing up reports
- Monitor and keep track of daily progress of well operations and costs.
- Liaise with specialist contractors and suppliers, such as cement companies or suppliers of drilling fluids
- Monitor safety and ensure the proper maintenance of the well
- Adhere to environmental protection standards, in some cases through direct discussion with local governments to ensure compliance with legislative requirements
- Coordinate and supervise the work of the drilling team
Nature of Work
You’ll often be required to work offshore or in remote areas, but office-based roles are available too. Working on offshore rigs is physically demanding, often undertaken in dirty, wet and very noisy conditions. The weather may also be unpleasant but not withstanding, the living is usually conducive as the basic needs are usually provided for comfort
The field is mostly for those with Engineering degrees but as a geology degree holder, your expertise in this field is not underrated.
10. SUSTAINABILITY CONSULTANT
This field basically entails promoting sustainable solutions for conflicting needs of people, environment, successful business and development.
As a sustainability consultant, your work also involves evaluating the impact a company is having on the environment.
Areas of work in sustainability consultancy include:
- Residential development and renovation
- On-shore and off-shore oil and gas, marine and coastal projects
- Industrial facilities.
- Transport infrastructure
As a sustainability consultant, you’ll work closely with clients to help them measure and then improve their sustainability performance. This can involve;
- Looking at materials used and the waste produced, including pollutants and noise management of energy, water, air and land
- How much energy is used for power and temperature regulation, and how this energy can be recycled ?
- Compliance with environmental legislation.
- Sustainable construction strategies
11. QUARRY MANAGER
Quarry managers coordinate the extraction of materials from quarry sites for use in industry and construction
As a quarry manager you’ll be responsible for ensuring that quarries, pits and opencast sites operate successfully. You’ll oversee all operations, both on site and in the office, coordinate production, monitor all site systems and manage staff.
As a quarry manager, you’ll need to:
- Check that the quarry’s production levels are safely maintained.
- Combine your knowledge of extraction and processing systems with excellent interpersonal and management skills to ensure the profitability of quarry site
- Balance sales and output
- liaise with sales and commercial teams
- Provide the owner of the company with information and statistics on the quarry’s performance, etc.
Mudloggers who are also known as mud logging geologists, logging geologists or mudlogging technicians play a vital role in the drilling of oil and gas as well as gathering information from rock samples and creating a detailed well log. Mudlogging is also known as hydrocarbon well logging.
As a mudlogger, you’ll monitor and record drilling activity, providing information to the drilling team about a well’s status during the extraction of oil or gas.
The ‘mudlog’ which is the collected days, influences important decisions about the efficiency and placement of well sites.
As a mudlogger, you’ll need to:
- Work in wellsite units collecting, processing, logging and describing rock samples
- Monitor computer recordings of drillings
- Use various laboratory techniques to analyse samples
- Undertake on-site maintenance when necessary
- Take on the primary health and safety role for the well through regular monitoring of all drilling parameters
- Provide written reports to the data engineer, drilling team and company.
- Predict dangerous situations, such as over-pressured formations
13. WELLSITE GEOLOGISTS
Wellsite geologists study and classify rock cuttings from oil and gas wells in order to determine how drilling should be started and how it should proceed
As a wellsite geologist, you’ll use specialised tests, core samples and rock-cutting data to build up knowledge of the structure being drilled.
As an experienced geologist, you’ll decide when tests should be carried out and when to stop drilling. You’ll send reports and logs of completed drilling to the operations geologist and offer advice to oil company representatives. You’ll also incorporate health and safety requirements in daily geological operations.
Wellsite geologists liaise with drilling engineers, petroleum engineers and mudloggers during the course of projects.
Oceanographers are involved in a wide range of duties. Oceanography covers a wide range of topics, including marine life and ecosystems, and the chemical and physical properties of the ocean, ocean circulation, and the geology of the seafloor,
With a degree in geology, you have a wide range of specialty to opt for in this field. They include;
- Biological Oceanography: Biological oceanographers and marine biologists study plants and animals in the marine environment. They are interested in the numbers of marine organisms and how these organisms develop, relate to one another, adapt to their environment, and interact with it.
- Chemical Oceanography: Chemical oceanographers and marine chemists study the composition of seawater, its processes and cycles, and the chemical interaction of seawater with the atmosphere and seafloor.
- Geological Oceanography: Geological oceanographers and marine geologists explore the ocean floor and the processes that form its mountains and valleys.
- Physical Oceanography: Physical oceanographers study the physical conditions and physical processes within the ocean such as currents, waves, tides, the transport of sand on and off beaches and the interactions of the atmosphere and the ocean.
If you are a person who desires to pass knowledge to others, with your degree in Geology you can go into the teaching field. You can teach at higher Institutions but may be required to acquire higher Certification in order to advance in the profession.
The field of Geology is very vast. The interesting thing about it is the adventurous nature. As one with a degree in Geology, what to do with the degree is not something to worry about as there are numerous employment opportunities. If you have been looking for what to do with your degree in Geology, this article has done justice to that. What is contained in this article is just half of what you can do with a geology degree.