Environmental geologists plan or conduct geological field studies to collect data on a particular site, such as soil types, rock structure, and groundwater flows. They also use geographic information systems (GIS) and other specialized software to create geologic maps, maps showing the distribution of contamination, or cross-sectional diagrams.
They then use the information gathered from field surveys, maps, well logs, bore holes, ground penetrating radar, aerial photos, and the geologic literature to understand underground geological conditions and potential natural hazards.
They use their expertise and the information they've gathered to assess the geological safety of a location for a particular use, such as waste disposal or siting a nuclear power plant. They also advise on how to reduce risk or restore contaminated sites. They may write reports detailing their findings for clients.
Where do Environmental Geologists Work?
Many environmental geologists work for consulting firms, where they offer their expertise to oil and mining companies and other clients. They may also be employed by those companies directly, as well as by engineering and environmental remediation firms. Some work for state and local government agencies, such as geological surveys and environmental agencies. Others become professors or research staff at colleges and universities, or high school science teachers.
Environmental geologists may work outside part of the time, collecting data on site or overseeing remediation operations. They may travel and work long or irregular hours when doing fieldwork. Most geoscientists work full time.
Steps to take:
- Ensure your degree and classes are tailored towards the sector
- Relevant work experience/internships will be extremely useful when it comes to applying for a job in the sector.
There are employment opportunities with a BS but a suitable postgraduate Masters or PhD qualification may enhance your career prospects.