Becoming a Geologist
Skills You Need
If you want to be a good geologist, you should have immense curiosity, a scientific bent, an analytical mind, artistic ability, creativity, the knack for processing and distilling huge amounts of data, a good sense of humor, and the ability to communicate your ideas to others.
- If you’re not hip enough to be an artist, but you’re not wound tight enough to be an engineer, you might want to think about petroleum geology!
- If you like detailed work, but can’t stand the thought of crunching numbers all day long, you might want to think about petroleum geology!
- If you can pass math through Calculus II, but pages of formulas don’t turn you on, you might want to think about petroleum geology!
- If you can’t clear the dance floor, yet you can’t bear to sit the next one out, you might want to think about petroleum geology!
- If you like to draw and express things graphically, but you’re no Van Gogh, you might want to think about petroleum geology!
You don’t need to be Einstein, Da Vinci, or Pauley Perrette, but being well-rounded really helps a lot. Petroleum geologists are often jack-of-all-trades types. They must be creative enough to come up with new ideas, but controlled enough to stick to a scientific method.
A petroleum geologist works 90% with things, but she must get along with people in the modern “Team Environment,” and possess basic interpersonal skills. The ability to establish friendly communications is a must, as many types of people must be dealt with regularly.
Guide To Your Future Co-Workers
Click this table for a Handy Guide to your future co-workers in the oil patch. I hereby release the following Handy Guide to the world for re-use, provided it is re-used in its entirety, and is not altered in any way:
SPECIAL BONUS: I didn’t cut any corners with this Handy Guide! Many so-called “online geologists” try to push guides that are only “suitable” for framing! This Guide is pre-framed, using a museum-quality matte, just for you! Just print, cut, and hang!
Finally, you should plan to get B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology, as the majority of fully-employed petroleum geologists have both.
Most M.S. degrees in Geology have entry requirements along the following lines. It is going to go much easier on you if you already have a B.S. in Geology when you apply to graduate school:
B.S. in Geology OR make up the following: Physical Geology (4hours), Historical Geology (4 hours), Mineralogy (4 hours), Optical Mineralogy (4 hours), Petrology (3 hours), Stratigraphy/Sedimentation (3 hours), Structural Geology (3 hours), Geology Field Camp (6-8 hours), General Chemistry (8 hours), Physics (8 hours), Computer Science or Statistics (3 hours), Calculus (6 hours), and a possible foreign language requirement. These are just general guidelines, and do not apply to any particular school!
I get many letters from geologists with B.S. degrees asking for advice on their stalled-out careers. I can’t stress this enough: Commit yourself to both B.S. and M.S. training, and you won’t be limited in your career!