How to Become a Volcanologist

Volcanologists are professionals who specialize in a branch of geoscience.

These professionals are experienced in studying, observing and gathering information on volcanoes.

Their work can be an exciting one that requires Volcanologists to visit active or dormant volcanoes to learn about their composition and how they impact the earth.

Individuals who want to become a Volcanologist will have a passion for the geosciences, a high interest in visiting dangerous destinations and a variety of professional skills to help them succeed in this profession.

Some helpful skills to have when entering this field can include: physical stamina, strong communication skills to write reports or research papers and attention to detail to gather a variety of samples.

Education Requirements to Become a Volcanologist

Individuals who want to become a Volcanologist will need to complete a postsecondary degree, a license depending on their state and some hands on experience working in the field.

The minimum educational requirement in order to seek an entry level position is a bachelor’s degree.

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Individuals who pursue an advanced degree such as a master’s or a doctoral degree will have better job prospects.

Individuals will need to complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to become a Volcanologist and work as an entry level research assistant.

Individuals can complete a geoscience degree but can also pursue a degree in chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, computer science or engineering with a strong background in geology in order to enter this profession.

Many of these bachelor’s programs include basic information on volcanology.

Individuals will have better job prospects to become a Volcanologist if they continue their education by completing a doctoral or master’s program in geoscience.

Individuals with a master’s degree typically have more advancement opportunities such as managing while individuals who pursue a doctoral degree in geoscience will have opportunities to teach at the postsecondary level and lead research projects.

Individuals who want to become a Volcanologist will also need to gain on the job experience in order to enter this field.

Many bachelor programs already require individuals to complete internships, but for programs that don’t, students are highly encouraged to seek these opportunities.

Many universities and colleges may host geology research projects in which individuals can learn how to document geological features or how to use highly specialized equipment needed to complete a variety of data gathering projects.

Licensing will depend on individual states and mainly depend on whether a Volcanologist is providing their services to the public.

Volcanologist Job Description

Volcanologists are specialized geoscientists that focus on volcanoes and their activity.

Many of these individuals have to travel in order to perform their jobs and can visit dormant or active volcanoes making it a dangerous occupation.

Volcanologists will arrive at their assigned site and begin gathering a plethora of physical data and samples from within or outside of a volcano.

Gathering samples requires the use of highly specialized and sophisticated equipment.

Some equipment may include remote sensing or seismic activity technology.

The main duties a Volcanologist completes may include the following:

  • Collect, gather and organize data
  • Predict whether a volcano is close to erupting
  • Predict how long a volcano has been dormant and whether it will become active
  • Provide advice on evacuations and protection procedures
  • Determine any health hazards from ash and smoke from erupting volcanoes

Volcanologist Salary and Career Path

Exact salary information for Volcanologists does not exist; however, there are figures for the branch of geoscience which includes this profession.

In 2012, the median salary for all Geoscientists was approximately $90,890 per year.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including years of experience or the type of industry an individual works in.

The job outlook for all Geoscientists is expected to grow at a faster than average rate when compared to other professions.

Job opportunities for all Geoscientists are projected to increase by 16 percent through the year 2022.

This growth is attributed to the increase in demand for environmental protection and resource management.

Volcanologists are part of a field that is focused on learning about the earth and the mechanisms that keep the earth running.

Volcanologists are specialists who may be involved in dramatic and dangerous situations by gathering research from an active volcano, but can also sue their skills in a lab environment.

Their work is highly important especially in a day and age in which the public is becoming more interested in preserving the earth.

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