How to Become a Geophysicist

Geophysicists work in the scientific field and study the physical components of the Earth including its processes (how it functions), its structure and composition.

Individuals interested in taking the steps to become a Geophysicist will have a strong passion for science and how the earth functions.

Education Requirements to Become a Geophysicist

Individuals who would like to become a Geophysicist will need to complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to secure an entry level position.

Individuals with a minimum of a master’s degree will have better job prospects.

Individuals who would like to perform research or teach at the postsecondary level will need to complete a PhD.

In addition, some states require individuals to acquire a license in order to become a Geophysicist.

Individuals beginning their college career who know they want to become a Geophysicist will need to complete their undergraduate degree in Geoscience.

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This is the recommended educational track and is the most sought out degree by employers.

Similar majors include: computer science, engineering, mathematics, biology, chemistry or physics with coursework in geology are recommended educational degrees.

Individuals focusing on a degree in Geoscience can expect to take classes in the following areas:

  • Structural Geology
  • Petrology
  • Mineralogy
  • Physical science
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering
  • Computer science

These classes and coursework are extremely important for individuals who want to become a Geophysicist.

Individuals not majoring in Geoscience will benefit in taking these additional classes in conjunction with a closely related field.

In addition, individuals will have better prospects if they gain experience while completing their bachelor’s degree.

Individuals can seek opportunities by applying for and completing a summer field camp in which they will gain the hands on experience needed to succeed as a Geophysicist.

Attaining experience using computers will also help individuals stand out to employers.

Experience with digital mapping, data analysis and computer modeling is also highly recommended.

Geophysicist Job Description

Geophysicists are scientific professionals who are experienced in studying the Earth and its composition.

This includes studying the earth’s magnetic field, internal makeup, processes seismic activity, gravitational fields, planetary movement, oceans and atmosphere.

Geophysicists will study the earth using a variety of interdisciplinary fields including physics, geology, chemistry and advanced mathematics in order to gather information.

Geophysicists will need to travel to the area of the earth to study its composition and gather information.

They will begin by planning and implementing field studies and then proceeding with collecting a variety of samples as well as conduct surveys of the area being examined.

During this process, they may use a variety of equipment to gather samples, sometimes using basic equipment such as a hammer.

They will then use the samples collected to analyze the information in a laboratory and conduct a variety of tests to determine composition.

After conducting laboratory testing, Geophysicists will use the information gathered to construct a written report of their finding and will share this information with the scientific world or the private company they work for.

Geophysicist Salary and Career Path

In 2012, the median salary for Geoscientists, which includes the Geophysicist career, was approximately $90,890 per year.

Exact wages will depend on the industry an individual works in.

For example, individuals who work in the oil and gas extraction field tend to make the highest wages at an annual median wage of approximately $137,500 per year while those who work for state governments earn less at approximately $62,020 per year.

The job outlook for Geoscientists looks promising and is expected to grow by 16 percent through the year 2022.

This rate is considered faster than average when compared to other professions.

This expected growth is attributed to several factors including the need for energy consumption, the responsible management of land and earthly resources and the increased interest in protecting the environment.

In addition, this growth will also be impacted by the advancements being made in technologies.

Job prospects will be best for those who have a master’s degree.

With a healthy job outlook, high wages and a busy environment, individuals interested in starting a career as a Geophysicist have plenty of incentives in joining this profession.

Individuals also have choices in the industry it works in including for a government agency, nonprofit or for the private sector.

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