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Geologist

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Summary of occupation

Geologists examine and record the structure and make-up of the earth and associated materials, such as rocks and fossils. Their tasks include studying samples of earth or rock core to measure the effect of soil erosion, and preparing reports on their findings for relevant government or scientific bodies. Geologists may also work for one of the many mining companies that search for precious materials all over the State.

ANZSCO description: Studies the composition, structure and other physical attributes of the earth to increase scientific knowledge and to develop practical applications in fields such as mineral exploitation, civil engineering, environmental protection and rehabilitation of land after mining.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Hydrogeologist, Marine Geologist, Palaeontologist
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A geologist needs:

  • physical fitness
  • to enjoy working outdoors
  • the ability to undertake detailed and delicate operations
  • strong organisational skills
  • to be able to work well as part of a team.
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Working conditions

Geologists work in a wide range of settings, depending on their specialisation. Exposure to the elements is an important part of a geologist's fieldwork, as is the possibility of working in remote and isolated locations. In Western Australia, geologists might conduct research in areas as diverse as rivers, along the coastline, in mine sites and the outback.

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Salary details

On average, geologists can expect to earn between $2 308 and $2 500 per week ($120 000 and $130 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a geologist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Equipment and technology used by geologists during the course of their fieldwork or in laboratories may include microscopes, GIS mapping software, compasses, picks, and rock hammers. Safety clothing such as helmets, protective glasses and steel capped boots need to be worn in most locations, particularly those involving rocky or dusty terrain.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a geologist you usually need to complete a degree in science with a major in geology or a related science.

Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Geologist Video Geologist Occupation

Studies the composition, structure and other physical attributes of the earth to increase scientific knowledge and to develop practical applications in fields such as mineral exploitation, civil engineering, environmental protection and rehabilitation of land after mining.

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