How Do I Become an Earth Scientist?

Someone who wants to become an earth scientist should plan on going to school for formal education in this field. Some jobs are open to people holding bachelor’s degrees, but a postgraduate degree can be more useful, and may result in better pay and potentially more interesting jobs. It can also be beneficial to be a member of a professional organization that promotes excellence in earth science and connects members with ongoing sources of information and opportunities. Qualified earth scientists can work with private firms, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations with an interest in the environment.

High school students with an interest in earth science can get a head start by taking extra science courses. These can include advanced placement classes or college classes taken by arrangement to allow them to earn college credit before graduation. Once in college, a student who wants to become an earth scientist needs to fulfill the program requirements for a bachelor’s degree. It may be helpful to take electives in specific areas of earth science that are of particular interest, in order to start developing advanced knowledge in specialty subjects.

While in school to become an earth scientist, taking advantage of internships and similar opportunities is recommended. These provide real field experience along with the potential to be named in publications and meet leaders in the field. As people start applying for jobs, the experience and credit can be very helpful, especially for competitive positions. Students may find it helpful to participate in extracurricular learning because it can influence decisions about what to focus on after college, as well.

Entry-level positions in earth science are available to people with bachelor’s degrees. For more advanced jobs, especially those involving leading projects and supervising personnel, an advanced degree is necessary. A master’s degree can be helpful and a doctorate may be required for some positions. Someone who plans to become an earth scientist can take advantage of the opportunities offered in school to develop professional credentials, meet people in the field, and participate in research to improve understanding of specific subjects in the field.

A student in training to become an earth scientist should also consider joining a professional organization, attending conferences, and using tools like trade journals to keep up with the field. These steps can help people stay in touch with what is happening in the industry so they can work more effectively after graduation. They also create potential professional contacts, like potential employers people may meet at conferences, or research partners that scientists may locate through meetings and similar events.


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