GeologistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
Those who are passionate about Earth will flourish as geologists. They study the solids, liquids, and gasses that make up Earth and all other planets. Many geologists are also an advocate for bettering the environment. They study different Earth materials such as rocks, minerals, fossil fuels, sediment, and different gasses. The duties of this job are versatile, as there are endless specialized fields of study with being a Geologist. One duty may involve doing individual studies and/or experiments about the specific ground, while another duty may involve learning how to extract earth materials, such as fossil fuels, in a safe way. Other responsibilities of this job include analyzing surface soils, documenting any findings of Earth materials, and so on.
Sample job description #1
The responsibilities of this position
Conducting environmental field work, including soil logging, groundwater sampling, fluid level gauging and oversight of field surveys, drilling, well installation, development operations, and utility clearance for intrusive operations
Field document preparation, field data collection, processing, and interpretation
Supporting office tasks, including data analysis, and report preparation
Bachelor’s Degree in Geology, Soil Science, Environmental Science, or closely related field
Valid US Driver’s license
Due to the nature of the work, US Citizenship is required
Related work experience, overseeing drilling operations is a plus
Proficient with Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)
Excellent oral and written communication skills
40-Hour HAZWOPER Training
Relocation assistance is not available for this position
Qualified applicants who are offered a position must pass a pre-employment substance abuse test
This position may be subject to a pre-employment Motor Vehicle Record Screening
This position does not include sponsorship for United States work authorization
Sample job description #2
Assignments may include working as an individual or as part of a project team to assist with environmental site assessments; on-site investigations of contaminated soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water, and vapor; aquifer test performance and analysis, construction observation, and preparation of drilling logs, geologic maps, cross-sections, and technical reports. On-site investigation tasks may include observing drilling and monitoring well installation, classifying soil and bedrock samples, and collecting samples for field screening and laboratory analysis. Fieldwork opportunities for this position will be year-round and will include some out-of-town travel.
Bachelor’s degree in geology, hydrogeology, or geological engineering
Academic coursework directly related to the job responsibilities described above and successful completion of a field or research course
Minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0
Strong interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills and the ability to communicate effectively with project team members, regulators, and clients
Strong technical and problem solving skills
Attention to detail, accuracy, and completeness
Strong computer skills, including word processing and use of spreadsheets
A flexible working style and the ability to work independently and with teams of specialists to meet client and project needs
Willingness to travel and periodically adjust personal schedules to meet project needs (up to 25% travel and 50% or more fieldwork expected; project needs will vary seasonally and over time)
Legal authorization to work in the United States without the need for sponsorship
Acceptable driving record
Master’s degree in geology, hydrogeology, or geological engineering
Coursework related to groundwater flow
1–3 years of experience related to environmental work
40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) certification
Familiarity with environmental regulations, including Michigan EGLE Part 201 Program
Sample job description #3
The successful candidate will assist with gathering and analyzing geological, hydrogeological, hydrologic, and geochemical data in both the field and office settings.
The field activities will consist of soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment, air and soil vapor sample collection, geological logging and interpretation, and the oversight of subcontractors including laboratories and excavation and drilling companies
The office activities will involve preparation of boring logs, tables, and investigation reports, and review of documents prepared by others
The responsibilities of this position
Candidate must also be able to work as part of a project team comprised of staff and subcontractors
Flexibility to work on a multitude of diverse projects, a positive attitude, and commitment to workplace health and safety are imperative
Field work will be required including oversight of subcontractors
Utilizes basic scientific principles, theories, practices, and existing technologies to develop solutions for technical problems with limited scope
Collects and enters data, and applies technical principles and theories
Interprets and records data, conducts analyses, compares findings to relevant studies and local, state, and federal regulations to ensure compliance
Entry-level position; may not require previous experience
Bachelor’s degree in Geology, Environmental Science, Geoscience, Hydrogeology, or related field
Valid Driver’s license
Due to the nature of work, U.S. Citizenship is required
Ability to understand and supervise advancement of soil borings and installation of monitoring wells
Ability to demonstrate a primary technical role in multiple site characterization, subsurface investigation and remediation projects at various client sites
Understand and assist with site conceptual models
Collect and evaluate environmental data in field and office settings
Prepare investigation reports and drawings
Possesses technical report writing skills
Independent field work and leadership of field teams
Selected candidate will be required to complete 40 hour HAZWOPER training or annual refresher class, if needed
Selected Candidate will also receive First Aid/CPR training and specific training
Learn and develop a keen understanding of hazard recognition; and environmental investigation or remediation
Ability to travel up to 80% to various job sites locally and regionally
Candidate must be proficient with basic computer programs; MS Word and MS Excel
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for a geologist is $97,500 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Sample interview questions
What makes you want to become a geologist?
What would be your preferred method of discovering, collecting, and examining a sample?
How would you go about your typical workday as a geologist?
Has there been a situation in which you had to apply new technology or methodology to your work? What were some obstacles you had to overcome? What was the result?
Can you give me a description of the last project you worked on?
How do you stay motivated during very long, isolated hours of travel or work in remote locations?
What do you consider the best method for reading, studying, and interpreting reports to effectively compile information and data for geophysical prospecting?
How do you go about determining what data is relevant from multiple sources?
How do you plan, prioritize, and execute your work?
Walk me through how you typically prepare sketches, maps, cross-sections, and notes.
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