A true explorer of the bowels of the Earth, the geologist studies the solid constituents of the Earth’s crust, as well as the liquids and gases that are enclosed within it. This discipline has many specialties, such as the historical study of the earth’s crust, minerals, crystals, and mining and oil research. According to his professional orientation, he works in research, teaching, and industry.
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Few job opportunities
Currently, there are about 7000 geologists in France. This profession, which attracts a lot of young people, offers few job opportunities… but in very varied fields: energy, exploitation of water reserves. The new jobs are in environmental management and civil engineering.
Oil, minerals and water
The geologist can, for example, work in the field of energy materials: underground and underwater oil research for oil companies… He can work on the research of minerals to manufacture road surfaces or construction materials. He can participate in the research, exploitation and preservation of underground water tables.
Development and environment
The geologist may also be interested in large-scale land-use planning (probing the soil to identify hidden risks in the event of construction, on behalf of engineering firms), in the environment (assessing and preventing natural risks such as floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, etc., in public and private laboratories), and in teaching and research (in universities, at the National Centre for Scientific Research, at the Bureau of Geological and Mining Research, for example)
Salary of the beginner
~ 2100 euros gross per month.
In the field and in the lab
The geologist spends a lot of time in the field taking samples. They travel a lot. He then carries out analyses in the laboratory. The evolution of technologies provides him with more and more advanced tools: electronic microscopes, microprobes, satellite image sensors, specialized software…
A team effort
The geologist rarely works alone. They are often assisted by geological technicians, who are responsible for taking rock samples, for example. During oil or mining exploration expeditions, he also works closely with a team of specialists (geophysicists, geochemists, etc.) and relies on their knowledge.
Civil servant or employee
The geologist is most often a researcher working for public research organizations. For example, for the Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières (BRGM), geological institutes… They can also work for industrial companies, construction companies, design and engineering firms, or for mining, gas and oil companies. They can also teach at universities.
A solid scientific background alone is not enough to succeed in this profession. The geologist must be fluent in English or another language to analyze and translate technical data. Thoroughness, precision and good interpersonal skills are also important to carry out research work and to maintain contacts with various people (experts, scientists, decision-makers, etc.).
… and legs…
To go on land or underwater sites, a good physical condition is essential. And this, also, to support varied climatic conditions, in France or abroad, according to the sites on which the geologist is brought to work.
… and computers
Cartography and geomatics software (geographic information systems), simulation and 2D or 3D modeling software: these are all essential tools that the geologist uses and masters, and that allow him to list, map and model the observations made in the field.