Geomorphologists study, analyze and interpret landmasses using surveying techniques. Using refined data analysis and observation skills, these workers collect samples, interpret geological data and estimate locations of natural resources. While an undergraduate degree is required to work in the field, you can improve your employment prospects as a geomorphologist by pursuing a master’s degree.
Before You Get the Job
Entry-level positions in geomorphology require a bachelor’s degree in geology or environmental science. Classes in areas such as mathematics, physics, mineralogy and petrology can be helpful. Additionally, some advanced-level or supervision positions can require a master’s degree in the field, while those seeking teaching positions in geomorphology must typically possess a Ph.D.
Depending on your work in the field, you may also require a license in some states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The requirements can vary but may include completing specific education and training requirements and passing an exam. You can also choose to join associations in the field, such as the International Association of Geomorphologists. Joining an association can keep you up to date on current techniques and research used in the field.
A Day in the Life of Geomorphologist
In the field, geomorphologists take and analyze soil or water samples and measure characteristics of the earth using seismographs or magnetometers. They also look at rock formations and soil deposits to assess surface movements of water or soil and advise construction firms about construction projects or foundation design. Within the office, they conduct tests on samples, create software to improve the analysis of geological data, prepare papers for scholarly journals and review research done by other scientists.
As a geomorphologist, you study and evaluate changes in landmasses, complete geological surveys using computer software and conduct test drills. You typically work among other scientists and community workers to prepare geological maps and conduct long-term monitoring studies. Geomorphologists can find career opportunities within engineering consulting firms, federal and state government agencies, environmental consulting firms and oil and gas companies.
Skill Set of Brawn and Brains
Since geomorphologists have to hike to remote locations, you need physical stamina to endure long hours on your feet and withstand natural elements. If you haven't worked out for a while, book some time with a trainer before starting work. You must have a strong understanding of landmasses and the changes that occur to them over time, as well as an understanding of graphic imaging and computer-aided design software. Additionally, you must possess exceptional problem-solving skills.
2016 Salary Information for Geoscientists
Geoscientists earned a median annual salary of $89,780 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, geoscientists earned a 25th percentile salary of $62,830, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $127,620, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 32,000 people were employed in the U.S. as geoscientists.