How To Become A Geologist In Australia: A Complete Guide

Students want to know how they can become geologists in Australia.

 

Are you interested in history and science and enjoy doing practical and technical work? Then, a career as a Geologist might be perfect for you.

 

Geologists study the structure, composition and other physical aspects of the earth. They educate on earth structures, locate valuable natural resources, and predict natural calamities such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

 

To become a geologist in Australia, study a bachelor's degree in science in geology, geoscience, or a related field like a Bachelor of Geology. Earning a relevant postgraduate qualification can improve your career prospects.

 

This comprehensive blog will give detailed information about geology and the geologist's role. It describes what geologists do, how much they earn, where they work, what skills they use, and the steps to pursue the profession in Australia.

 

 

1. What Is Geology?

 

Geology is a science that aims to understand all aspects of the earth, including its nature, structure, and composition. It has applications ranging from farming to mining, environmental management, and construction.

 

 

2. What Is A Geologist?

 

Geologists study the earth's composition, from deep interiors to the outer surface. They explore the earth's evolution for resources and changes (land formation and climate change) from its origination to the present and determine the future based on their findings.

 

They develop practical methods in civil engineering, mineral exploitation, environmental protection, and land rehabilitation by gaining scientific knowledge. 

 

Based on their specialization, the following are the different Geologist types:

 

 

 

3. What Tools And Technologies Do Geologists Use?

 

Geologists measure and evaluate aspects of the earth, including gravity, minerals, rocks, and magnetic fields. They use the following equipment and technology during their fieldwork or in a lab: 

 

 

  • Electron and Optical Microscopes

  • GIS mapping software 

  • Compasses 

  • Seismographs

  • Picks

  • Drills

  • X-ray machine

  • Rock hammers

  • Aerial imagery tools

  • EMF detector 

 

 

4. What Do Geologists Do?

 

The most common duties of a geologist include the following:

 

  • Examine the structure and composition of the earth and materials, such as rocks and fossils

  • Map rock formations and rock patterns, gather fossils and rock samples and measure the physical properties of the earth.

  • Observe and record details in a systematic manner

  • Study Earth samples to measure the impact of soil erosion

  • Dig the earth to identify the location of mining resources, groundwater resources, and petroleum deposits

  • Conduct ground, gravity, and other land surveys with mining engineers, metallurgists, and prospectors, to construct tunnels, dams, roads, bridges, coastal installations, and water supply schemes 

  • Identify landfill areas to store hazardous material.

  • Create strategies to excavate underground, extract mineral deposits, and prevent hazards. 

  • Study the impact of natural events such as erosion, glaciation, sedimentation, volcanic hazards, and earthquakes 

  • Use investigative tools and methods to analyze samples or sites.

  • Prepare geological models to define processes and estimate future situations. 

  • Use digital field mapping and 3D modelling for mineral deposits or oil fields to integrate data sets and understand geological information.

  • Examine geological specimens in labs using X-ray diffraction

  • Offer advice on the excavation and extraction of water, minerals, and other substances

  • Forecast natural phenomena such as earthquakes and tsunamis

  • Prepare geological maps, reports, and research papers based on their findings. 

  • Present reports to government or scientific bodies at conferences

  • Teach university and college courses

 

 

5. What Skills Do You Need To Become A Geologist?

 

As Geologists perform theoretical, scientific, and practical responsibilities, a wide-ranging knowledge in varying areas is critical in this role.

 

  • Scientific and technical tasks

  • Comfortable working outdoors in varying environments

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills 

  • Competent computer literacy skills 

  • A good comprehension of biology, physics, mathematics, and chemistry

  • Able to work independently or in a multi-disciplinary team

  • Analytical skills

  • Critical thinking

  • Teamwork skills

  • Familiarity with public safety regulations to ensure that processes, events, and equipment comply with federal and local laws  

  • Able to prepare precise reports and records

  • Able to manage the physical demands of the job

 

 

6. Qualifications To Work As A Geologist In Australia

 

Do you want to become a geologist but need to know how to qualify for this role? Here is what you need to study to become a professional geologist:

 

 

 

7. Steps To Become A Geologist In Australia

 

To become a geologist, you must have a bachelor's degree in geology. Employers usually prefer candidates who have relevant fieldwork experience. 

 

Thus, aspiring Geologists require a mix of education and experience to work in this profession. Here are the steps to take to pursue a geologist career in Australia:

 

 

Step 1: Take Geology Courses In High School

 

There is no dedicated geology course offered at the high school level. However, you can consider taking courses in a related field, such as earth science or environmental science.

 

Alternatively, you can choose traditional subjects such as chemistry, biology, or physics during high school. A computer course is beneficial to learning information processing and sample analysis that you may need to perform while working in this role.

 

 

Step 2: Earn A Bachelor's Degree

 

You need to have a formal qualification to become a geologist. A bachelor's degree in science or applied science, majoring in geology, geoscience, applied geology, or geophysics, is the minimum requirement to work in this profession.

 

A degree course covers the following geology areas: mineralogy, meteorology, tectonics, stratigraphy, and hydrology.

 

The course may include fieldwork to familiarize me with the practical side of geology and help me become more employable for an entry position in this occupation.

 

 

Step 3: Earn A Master's Degree

 

Government agencies and private firms that hire geologists for field research prefer master's degree holders. The most commonly available options for graduate geologists include Master of Geoscience, Petroleum Geoscience, Archaeology, and Earth and Environmental Sciences.

 

A two-year postgraduate qualification in geology improves your chances of getting hired. It facilitates specializing in geology, such as engineering geology, environmental geology, or geochemistry.

 

In a master's program, you choose a speciality and develop an advanced understanding of different types of materials.

 

 

Step 4: Gain Employment

 

Aspiring geologists should understand the theoretical aspect of geology and practically implement the knowledge to gain real-life experience.

 

An internship can be a valuable opportunity to gain work experience, expand your geological network of professionals, and land your first geologist job.

 

Alternatively, qualified geologists can look for fieldwork opportunities in local, state, and federal agencies, consulting firms, petroleum and mining companies, architectural and engineering services firms, and construction companies.

 

 

Step 5: Join Professional Bodies

 

The above steps will help you secure a geology job. Once you are in the profession, you can consider joining a professional institution. There are three industry bodies in Australia:

 

 

Candidates have to work for a qualifying period in the industry to become eligible to join these institutes. Gaining membership with these institutes is beneficial to stay updated with the current industry news and trends, demonstrate your investment in CPD and advance your career.

 

 

8. Geology Degrees In Australia

 

Geology courses are a great way to learn more about the planet. Students learn about the earth's history and time scales crucial to locating resources such as minerals and petroleum, including understanding environmental and climate changes.

 

Following geology courses help develop strong industry connections and gain extensive fieldwork experience:

 

 

Bachelor of Geology 

 

 

Three years full-time or part-time equivalent On-Campus course

 

The course helps students develop a thorough understanding of geoscience and global economic geology by participating in geological research projects. Students graduating from this course develop innovation and problem-solving skills that prepare them to work as professional geologists worldwide.

 

 

Bachelor of Science (Geology)

 

3 Years Full-Time or Part-Time Equivalent On-Campus Course

 

The course teaches students how the earth was formed and evolved with continents, atmosphere, oceans, and life during the past 4.4 billion years. Students also learn how natural processes within the interiors of the earth shape its surface.

 

 

Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science)

 

3 Years Full-time or Part-Time Equivalent On-Campus Course

 

The course examines the effect of human actions on the global environment and scientific, risk-based solutions to create a sustainable future. The Environmental Science major includes both earth and biological sciences.

 

 

Bachelor of Science (Geographical Sciences)

 

Studying geographical sciences teaches students about the earth's landscapes, places, environments, people and how they interact. 

 

This major provides insights into environmental problems and contemporary urban issues such as population growth, urban expansion, environmental conservation, climate change, and natural disasters.

 

Furthermore, students also learn the mutual dependency between the natural environment and human activities.

 

 

Bachelor of Science (Applied Geology)

 

3 Years Full-time On-Campus Course

 

This major helps students learn about mesmerizing geological processes that impact the climate, resources, and environment. In the 1st year of the course, students develop a foundational understanding of geology.

 

The 2nd year equips them with theoretical knowledge, lab work, and field skills to understand geological processes. The 3rd year provides comprehensive knowledge of one of the streams: Mining Geology, Petroleum Geology, or Applied Geology.

 

 

9. Geology Courses In Australia

 

Do you want to know how to become a geologist without a degree? Geologist schools offer short geology courses that help build essential skills to identify geological rocks, landforms, and minerals.

 

 

The Basic Field Geology Course at TAFE SA

 

This course covers the exploration, processing, and extraction of minerals, oil, and gas.

 

It provides hands-on experience in the following: soil science, structural geology, geophysics, geobiology, geochemistry, groundwater hydrogeology, mineralogy, petrology, geological maps, and surveying.

 

 

Geology Course - ACS Distance Education

 

It is a 100-hour online course giving introductory knowledge of geology components such as:

 

  • Rocks and minerals and their types

  • Geological surveying

  • Geochemistry

  • Geophysics

  • Geobiology

  • Structural Geology

  • Groundwater Hydrology

  • Applied Geology

 

 

Environment Studies Courses – TAFE NSW

 

TAFE NSW offers the following environmental courses:

 

  • Diploma of Sustainable Practice

  • Diploma of Conservation and Land Management

  • Certificate IV in Environmental Management and Sustainability

  • Certificate III in Water Industry Operations

 

Graduates of these courses can work in the energy sector, wildlife environmental conservation, water and waste management, sustainability consultancy firms, and government agencies.

 

 

Certificate of Geology - Australian Online Courses

 

This Certificate course teaches about rocks, minerals, the nature of chemical change, and the scope of geophysics.

 

Students can apply the theoretical knowledge in various ways: for groundwater and mining management, forecasting natural hazards, finding underground deposits of minerals, and determining the engineering work to build infrastructure.

 

 

10. How Long Does It Take To Become A Geologist?

 

The exact duration of becoming a geologist depends on your study mode. If you study full-time, it can take three to six years to qualify for this role.

 

  • A 3-years bachelor's degree in geology, applied science, or geoscience

  • A 4 years Bachelor's degree (honours) in the above areas 

 

Continue with a relevant two-year master's degree to become a qualified Geologist in Australia.  

 

 

11. Working Conditions For Geologists

 

Geologists work in offices, laboratories, or field settings, depending on their specialization. They might conduct research in mines, along the coastline, or in remote deserts.

 

Their working hours depend on the project they undertake. Those working in labs or offices work standard hours. On the other hand, those employed in fieldwork or within the gas or oil industry may work unusual hours in uncomfortable climate zones and stay away from home for a long time.

 

Geologists may work independently or as part of professional and non-professional staff. The job often involves travel to remote areas.

 

Petroleum geologists travel and conduct investigations to locate oil and gas deposits, gather samples, and run tests. Engineering geologists visit construction sites or dams to determine the geological feasibility of a project.

 

Geologists engaged in fieldwork and work in rocky or dusty terrain wear safety clothing, such as helmets, steel-capped boots, and protective glasses.

 

 

12. Where Do Geologists Work?

 

Geology is a vast field that provides many job opportunities within and outside the mineral resource sector.

 

Qualified geologists can work in the following sectors: mineralogy, petrology, economic geology, constructionmining, geological mapping, environmental planning, petroleum geology, and renewable energy.

 

Employment opportunities are available in the following entities:

 

  • Mining and petroleum industries

  • Geological survey organizations

  • Engineering consultancy firms 

  • Environmental consultancy agencies

  • Domestic or International private companies 

  • Federal, state, and territory government departments

  • Teaching institutes

  • Research centres 

  • In Universities

 

 

13. What Jobs Involve Geologists?

 

Your technical competency and experience in geology play a role in landing a job. Those who are specialized in geochemistry and knowledgeable in oil extraction procedures could land profitable jobs with oil companies. 

 

Knowledge of mineralogy can improve your employment chances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. 

 

Here are the most common Geologists jobs in Australia:

 

 

After gaining experience, geologists can progress to senior roles such as exploration managers or company managers/directors. There are a few opportunities available for self-employment.

 

 

14. Areas Of Specialization For Geologists

 

Geologists can look for career advancements in the following areas:

 

  • Database Geologist

  • Engineering Geologist

  • Environmental Geologist

  • Exploration/ Field Geologist

  • Mineralogist/ Geochemist/Petrologist

  • Geomorphologist

  • Hydrogeologist

  • Mathematical Geologist

  • Mine Site Geologist

  • Palaeontologist

  • Petroleum Geologist

  • Stratigrapher

  • Structural Geologist

  • Geologist

 

 

15. Job Outlook For Geologists In Australia

 

Geologists play an integral role in conserving the planet. They are the main contributors to identifying solutions to potential challenges around climate change, population density, and renewable sources.

 

The following parameters indicate an optimistic long-term job outlook for geologists and employment growth in geology over the next five years.

 

  • The increased concern of the government for pollution and climate change has led environmental consulting firms to recruit more geologists to combat environmental issues.

  • Due to the growing need for energy conservation, land resource management, and environmental protection, the demand for geoscientists is growing.

  • The rising demand for natural gas will lead to the need for more geological exploration and extraction in Australia.

 

Western Australia presents the maximum number of work opportunities for Geologists in Australia. Around 83% of Geologists work full-time for 52 hours per week which is higher than the industry's average of 44 hours. The average age of the employed workforce is 39 years, with 25% of workers being female.

 

 

16. How Much Salary Does A Geologist Earn In Australia?

 

The average geologist salary in Australia is AU$122,974 per year, or equivalent to AU$41.28 per hour.

 

Geologists with a Master's degree have higher earning potential than those with only a bachelor's degree. Other factors that affect the salary include experience, work area, and company position.

 

 

Salary Based on Experience

 

  • Entry-level Geologists with (<1-year experience) earn AU$79,331 

  • Early career Geologists with (1 to 4 years of experience) earn AU$91,441 

  • Mid-career Geologists with (5 to 9 years of experience) earn AU$108,722 

  • Experienced Geologists with (10 to 19 years of experience) earn AU$121,086 

 

 

Salary Based on Location

 

Geologists earn higher salaries in the following cities in Australia:

 

  • Wedderburn, Victoria: $211,859 per year

  • Goldfields-Esperance, Western Australia: $134,432 per year

  • Brisbane, Queensland: $128,141 per year

  • Perth, Western Australia: $127,186 per year

  • Kalgoorlie, Western Australia: $113,584 per year

  • Melbourne, Victoria: $107,524 per year

  • Sydney, New South Wales: $103,061 per year

  • West Perth, Western Australia: $98,551 per year

 

 

17. Conclusion

 

The growing awareness of sustainable living will lead to a rise in the demand for environmental experts. When working as a geologist, you play a vital role in natural area restoration for generations to come.

 

Studying for a Geology degree is the best way to develop a good base and launch a successful career.

 

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