Geology is one of the most interesting and unique disciplines within the earth science field, focused on studying the earth, the rocks that form its foundation, and the processes that cause them to evolve and change over time. Many people find themselves drawn to the field of geology as a career, and many others study it at an amateur level or as a hobbyist. Not only can geology help you understand a lot about the way the earth was formed and what will happen to it in the future, but you can also learn to identify rare rocks and minerals. Since the field is competitive, anyone interested should start shaping their education plan accordingly early on. If you’re intrigued by geology or find yourself considering it as a career path, read on to learn more about what skills you’ll need to succeed.
What is geology?
First, let’s go over what geology is and how it works. Geology focuses on the study of solid earth and the rocks that are a part of its composition. The field also encompasses the processes that cause these rocks to erode or change, as well as the study of solid features on other terrestrial planets like Mars or natural satellites like the Moon.
There are a number of ways geologists study the earth. Fieldwork is the most common, but there are many other tactics including rock description, chemical analysis, numerical modeling, and physical experiments. On a practical level, geology can help us understand environmental hazards, find clean water sources, and potentially help uncover ways we can win the fight against climate change.
What skills do you need to study geology?
If you know you want to go into geology, it’s a good idea to make sure that your education adequately prepares you for your career. This means you should focus on coursework that helps you develop skills that are relevant to job duties you may have in the future. A bachelor’s degree in geosciences will be enough for many entry-level jobs, though environmental science and engineering are also useful majors for a future in geology. Some jobs will require a master’s degree though, so it’s worth investigating whether or not your dream job will require continuing your education.
In terms of interpersonal skills, geologists need to be excellent analysts and communicators. An inherent passion for the natural world is key, as is the ability to understand a number of engineering and scientific principles. Flexibility and versatility are especially useful in fields like geology that require a lot of hands-on fieldwork.
Studying geology professionally is a goal for many, but some people maintain an active interest despite primarily working in other industries. Howard Fensterman is a New York attorney, philanthropist, and mineral enthusiast who proves that you can understand a great deal about the study of rocks and minerals without pursuing a career in geosciences. His blog about gemstones and minerals is a great example of the wealth of information that can be gained by learning about the materials that make up our earth.
Geology is a fascinating subject, and there are a number of unique and well-paid careers that you can pursue within the field. If you know you have an interest, it’s smart to start to plan your education accordingly so you’ll be able to get into a quality undergraduate program. An undergraduate degree in geology alone is enough to qualify you for a number of jobs, but you can also pursue a graduate education if you want to study and work at a more advanced level. Even if you don’t want to pursue geology as a career, there are plenty of ways to enjoy studying it as an amateur too. No matter how deep your interest is, almost everyone can benefit from developing new skills and learning more about geology.