How to Become a Geologist

A geologist studies rocks, landforms, the Earth’s history, and plate tectonics. Some geologists teach in schools or universities, work for government agencies, or help companies target sources of rich mineral reserves. There are many areas in the field of geology — from geophysics to oceanography and everything in between — and the field is growing rapidly.

EditSteps
EditEstablishing a Foundation
Focus on doing well in math and science classes in high school. Geology, and indeed all areas of scientific study, require a deep understanding of basic mathematics and fundamental scientific principles. Chemistry and physics are especially necessary on the science end, and it’s important to do well in calculus on the math end. [1]
Take AP courses, if your school offers them, to get college credit and skip some of the introductory classes in the field.

Take courses in environmental science or earth science, if your school offers them. Many schools offer classes in environmental science or earth science in addition to the regular trio of biology, chemistry, and physics. Fit these into your schedule as best as you can to develop some basic knowledge in these fields.[2]
Environmental science is helpful as it teaches how humans affect the environment, how climate affects the earth, and the natural processes of the planet.

Earth science is helpful as it teaches about the geological processes of the planet, including everything from volcanoes to tectonic plates to earth’s geological cycle.

Gain foundational knowledge in computer science and GIS. More so than just a few decades ago, geologists are coming to rely on computer skills and GIS (global information systems) to navigate and understand the earth.[3] Develop a strong sense of scientific analysis, use of GIS programs, and basic coding while in school to make your resume stand out to universities and potential employers.
If your school doesn’t offer classes in computer science and GIS, consider taking a summer course at your local community college between high school and university.[4]

Join an after-school club such as a geology club or climate science club. Young people are becoming much more conscious of their effect on the planet, and you can learn more about the natural world and humanity’s effect on it through clubs and high school organizations. It is a fantastic way to start understanding what scientific research and working together to reach a goal is all about.[5]
If your school doesn’t have an environmental science club or a club relating to geology, think about joining a local volunteer group, or inquire about volunteering at a local museum. They are always looking for new, curious people to bring under their wing, and you will get a head start on creating connections with geologists.

EditAttaining Higher Education
Find a school that has a program specifically for the study of geology. Research a handful of schools both in your state and in other states and look specifically for their programs in earth science and geology, and choose one that seems to put a lot of focus and dedication into that course of study.[6]
It is usually recommended to go to a school in your state, as tuition costs will be much cheaper, but you should strongly consider schools in other states if they seem to have a better focus on geology.

Work towards a Bachelor of Science degree in a geology-related major. Almost every university offers mathematics and physical science, but be sure to see if there is a geology-specific major you can take on.[7] Declare your major, and choose a minor that relates to what you want to do in the field of geology.
For example, if you want to be in geology academia, take a minor in education. If you are interested in working for a large GIS company, take a minor in computer science. If you are interested in becoming a strict scientific researcher, take a minor in physical science or chemistry.

Take an internship in a lab or take a field research position. Talk to the science department at your school to see if there are any openings, and keep in close contact with your professors so they turn to you if they need some extra help in the lab.[8] Your school may have an online job board or a career advisory center, so be sure to check for geology and scientific entry-level positions.
While doing well in your classes and getting good grades are part of what gets you a job, the best way to learn is to do. You can learn plenty from books, but you must apply your knowledge in a internship or lab position to get a feel for the career.[9]

Consider going to graduate school if you are interested in academia. Most entry-level geology jobs only require a bachelor’s degree, but if you want to teach others at the university level or want to make yourself stand out from others, attain a master’s degree at in a respected program to boost your credentials as a geologist.[10]
A master’s degree will open up doors beyond simple lab work, but a PhD will show others that you are an expert in your field. You will be much more likely to be considered for university-level education positions if you have a doctorate in geology.

EditBeginning Your Geology Career
Join a geology organization in your area to network and meet professionals. AGI, the American Geosciences Institute, has a variety of local geologist societies all run under the national organization.[11] AIPG, the American Institute of Professional Geologists, focuses on public service.[12] Both organizations have requirements for entry, including some form of experience in the field as well as a bachelor’s degree in a geology-related major.
A professional organization can boost your resume and will give you the opportunity to network with other geologists, which can lead to better job prospects and career opportunities.

Make your resume and cover letter boast your education, experience, and skills. With many careers, your resume and cover letter can be soft and have a particular focus on you as a person rather than your technical ability. In geology and science careers, your resume and cover letter should exhibit your extensive education, including specific classes you took, your experience in internships and other scientific pursuits, and your strongest skills in geoscience research.
Your cover letter can talk a little bit about you as a person, but don’t focus on it too much more than a single paragraph. Your cover letter should detail significant experiences you have had, and describe your interest in geology and in the specific position you are looking for.

Be ready to talk about your ability to analyse, your ability to work in a team, and your experience with advanced scientific principles as they relate to geology in your interview.

Look for jobs in geology education at universities, high schools, and museums. Universities will offer courses in earth science, geology, or related fields. A museum could be looking for a geologist to catalogue items and do field research. A high school may need a geologist to teach environmental science, biology, chemistry, or physics.
Whichever you choose, having a master’s degree or PhD in geology will boost your credentials significantly, especially for museum and university positions.[13]

Search for positions with large mining, energy, or GIS companies. A mining company may need a geologist to identify and supervise mining sites. An energy company may need somebody with significant scientific and computer skills to find new sources of energy. A GIS company needs geologists to accurately map out resources and geography in an area.
You may not need a master’s degree to work with a company, but it can help to skip past entry-level positions.[14] If you have a bachelor’s degree, working at a large company could give you the opportunity to get your feet wet and begin getting some basic experience in the field.

Use your college connections to start a scientific research career. If working for a company, teaching others, or working for a museum doesn’t sound good to you, you can always do strict scientific research in one of the many privately-run or university-run labs in the world. It may not pay as much as some other positions, but your work will be entirely focused on research and learning new things about the world.[15]
Whether you have a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a PhD, use your professors and internship connections to find a position suited to your education level.

The best way to find strict research positions is by maintaining contact with your old professors and your university to learn about research openings before they become public.[16]

Become licensed to practice geology, if your state requires it. More than half of the U.S. states require scientists to become licensed to practice geology. You will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree, gain more than 3 years of experience in a job, and you will need to pass an entrance exam. Check the National Association of State Boards of Geology to see if you need to become licensed to be a geologist in your state.
If you have a master’s degree or a PhD, it is significantly easier to become licensed and you may not need to have experience in the field, as your intensive studies serve as an alternative form of experience.[17]

EditTips
Make sure you are good at writing and have taken a few foreign language courses. You may need to communicate effectively with other geologists from all over the world.

A formal thesis proposal is required in almost all PhD and master’s degrees, so think carefully about what piques your interest in geology and focus on that. Think back on what interested you the most during your studies and focus on that in your thesis proposal, as you will be more inspired and more confident in your work.

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Today in History for 16th February 2019

Historical Events

1852 – Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established.
1899 – Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur Iceland’s first football club is founded
1962 – “La Jetée”, French film directed by Chris Marker, starring Hélène Chatelain, Davos Hanich and Jacques Ledoux, is released
1986 – Karlstad skates world record 10 km (14:12.14)
1986 – French air force bombs Ouadi Doum airport in Chad
2014 – Netherlands sweeps the medals in the women’s 1,500m speed skating at the Sochi Winter Olympics; Jorien ter Mors wins gold ahead of team mates Ireen Wüst and Lotte van Beek

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1852 – Charles Taze Russell, religion founder (Jehovah’s Witnesses)
1911 – Hal Porter, Australia, writer (Tilted Cross, Paper Chase)
1932 – Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, President of Sierra Leone
1973 – Cathy Freeman, Australian 100m/200m/400m (Olympic silver 1992, 96), born in Mackay, Queensland
1977 – Trina Jackson, 4X200m freestyle swimmer (Olympic gold 1996)
1978 – Tia Hellebaut, Belgian athlete

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1721 – James Craggs the Younger, English politician, dies at 34
1899 – Félix Faure, 6th President of the French Third Republic (1895-99), dies at 57
1919 – Vera Kholodnaya, Russian film star (b. 1893)
1968 – Healey Willan, Anglo-Canadian composer, dies at 87
1996 – Walter Brown “Brownie” McGhee, American blues singer/guitarist, dies at 80
2011 – Justinas Marcinkevičius, Lithuanian poet and playwright (b. 1930)

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Clean a Hydration Bladder

Hydration bladders are amazing for outdoor adventures like hiking and biking. It’s nice to know your fluids are close by, and you don’t have to deal with the bulk or weight of water bottles. However, if not properly cleaned, they can quickly become host to a nasty lot of bacterial growth. Fortunately, with the help of some common household items, you can make sure you’re quenching your thirst without also ingesting mold or mildew!

EditSteps
EditChoosing a Cleaning Solution
Make a sanitizing solution from baking soda, bleach, and water. You’ll need 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of bleach. The bleach will sanitize the bladder, and the baking soda acts as a deodorizer. Mix the ingredients well, and you’re ready to start cleaning! [1]

Purchase hydration bladder cleaning tabs. Many manufacturers of hydration bladders sell cleaning kits. These kits include special brushes for scrubbing each part of the bladder and a cleaning tab that will dissolve in water. The tabs contain chlorine dioxide, which functions like bleach.
You can find the tabs at specialty outdoor retail stores and online through hydration bladder manufacturers.

Purchase denture cleaning tabs. You’ll need 1 tab per liter of water. This is a cheaper alternative to hydration bladder cleaning tabs. They are also easy to find since they are sold at grocery stores and mega stores. [2]

EditCleaning Your Hydration Bladder
Fill the bladder with warm water. You’ll want to do the cleaning process over a sink to contain any spills. Be careful not to use hot or boiling water. Though hot water can help with sanitation, it can harm the bladder materials, so use warm water only. [3]

Add the cleaning solution ingredients or tab to the warm water. Once you’ve added the cleaning agent of your choice to the filled bladder, seal the bladder. Then, gently shake it to mix. Shaking will also help distribute the solution, so it covers all surface area. [4]

Let the bladder soak. It’s time to let the solution do the heavy lifting! If you’re using a bleach and baking soda mixture, plan to let it soak for 30 minutes. [5] If you are using hydration bladder cleaning tabs or denture tabs, consult the packaging to find out how long to let the solution set.
Once the bladder is filled with cleaning solution and soaking, you can turn your attention to the tube and bite valve. [6]

Clean the tube and bite valve. Raise the sealed, filled bladder above your head. You need gravity’s help to get the solution into the tube. Make sure the tube and bite valve are positioned over the sink. [7]

Fill the tube with cleaning solution. Pinch the bite valve to release the solution from the bladder into the tube. Allow some solution to flow through the tube and bite valve into the sink. Then, release the bite valve to stop the flow and seal the solution in the tube. Now, the solution can work on the tube as well as the bladder.[8]

Let it soak. If using bleach and baking soda, leave the solution in the tube for about 30 minutes. If you’re using a tab, follow the instructions listed on the package. Whether you’re using a hydration cleaning tab or a denture cleaner, the package will let you know how long the solution needs to set to have its effect.
Cleaning tabs typically have a shorter soak time of around 5 minutes.

Empty the bladder and tube of all cleaning solution. Unseal the bladder, and dump the contents down the drain. Hold the bladder overhead, and pinch the bite valve to release any solution in the tube. Once it’s empty, you can move on to the next phase of cleaning!

Fill the empty bladder and tube with soapy water. Add a small amount of dish soap to the empty bladder. Then, fill the bladder with warm water and seal it. Holding the bladder overhead again, pinch the bite valve and allow some of the soapy water to flow through the tube into the sink. Release the valve to hold the solution in the tube. [9]

Scrub the inside surface of the bladder with a bottle cleaning brush. First, unseal the bladder. Then, grab a bottle cleaning brush. Use the bottle cleaning brush to thoroughly scrub the interior surfaces. [10]
Bottle cleaning brushes are often displayed in the baby section of grocery and mega stores. They work great for cleaning traditional water bottles as well!

Scrub the inside of the tube. You can purchase hydration bladder tube cleaner brushes to make this step really easy. Insert the cleaner brush and thoroughly scrub the inside of the tube. This step gets rid of any stubborn build up.
If you don’t have a tube cleaner brush, you can make your own cleaning tool. Find a long, clean piece of wire and a clean piece of wet cloth or towel. Make a small hook by bending one end of the wire. Cover the hook with your towel or cloth. Push the material through the tube. Repeat with a clean cloth as needed until the cloth comes out clean. [11]

Rinse the hydration bladder with water inside and out. Empty the soapy water from the bladder and tube. Then, rinse all surfaces of the bladder. Don’t forget to let clean water flow through the tube and bite valve to remove all debris and soap.
The last thing you want is a mouthful of soapy water when you’re out hiking, so make sure to take your time on this step!

EditDrying Your Hydration Bladder
Take the hydration bladder apart for drying. Separate the tube from the reservoir. If the bite valve can be released, take that off of the tube as well. If the bite valve can’t be removed, pinch it repeatedly to get rid of any remaining water. [12]

Use a clothes hanger to hang the bladder and tube for drying. Use clothespins to attach the bottom of the bladder to a clothes hanger. Make sure the bladder is fully open. You want as much air flow as possible. Hang the tube over the hanger so water can drip from both ends. [13]
If the bladder wants to collapse, you can crumple a few paper towels and put them inside to hold the bladder open.

Let the bladder and tube dry completely. If there is moisture in the bladder when you store it, you have a recipe for more of the pesky things you just eliminated by sanitizing, so be patient! Choose a room with low humidity in which to hang the bladder and tube.
Do not hang the bladder in your bathroom to dry. Showers and baths make for humidity and moisture. [14]

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