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Career and Education Opportunities for Geological Specialists in Missoula, Montana

If you want to be a geological specialist, the Missoula, Montana area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 290 jobs for geological specialists in Montana and this is projected to grow 45% to about 420 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for geological specialists are expected to grow by about 17.5%. In general, geological specialists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth.

Geological specialists earn approximately $35 hourly or $74,700 yearly on average in Montana. Nationally they average about $38 hourly or $79,160 annually. Geological specialists earn more than people working in the category of Physical Sciences generally in Montana and more than people in the Physical Sciences category nationally. People working as geological specialists can fill a number of jobs, such as: research geologist, environmental protection geologist, and marine geologist.

There are two schools of higher education in the Missoula area, including one within twenty-five miles of Missoula where you can get a degree to start your career as a geological specialist. Geological specialists usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn to be a geological specialist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Geological Specialist

In general, geological specialists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth. They also may use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems.

Geological specialists analyze and interpret geological, geochemical, and geophysical data from sources such as survey data and aerial photos. They also analyze and interpret geological data, using computer software. Finally, geological specialists search for and review research articles or environmental and technical reports.

Every day, geological specialists are expected to be able to read and understand documents and reports. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for geological specialists to formulate and conduct geological, geochemical, and geophysical field studies and surveys or drilling and testing programs used to collect data for research or application. They are often called upon to locate and estimate probable natural gas and mineral ore deposits and underground water resources, using aerial photographs or research and survey results. They also identify deposits of construction materials, and assess the materials' characteristics and suitability for use as concrete aggregates or in other applications. They are sometimes expected to ready geological maps, cross-sectional diagrams and reports concerning mineral extraction and resource management, using results of field work and laboratory research. Somewhat less frequently, geological specialists are also expected to assess ground and surface water movement to furnish advice regarding issues such as waste management, route and site selection, and the restoration of contaminated sites.

Geological specialists sometimes are asked to layout geological mine maps, monitor mine structural integrity, or advise and monitor mining crews. They also have to be able to communicate geological findings by writing research papers, participating in conferences, or teaching geological science at universities and design applied software for the analysis and interpretation of geological data. And finally, they sometimes have to measure characteristics of the Earth, such as gravity and magnetic fields, using equipment such as seismographs and magnetometers.

Like many other jobs, geological specialists must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Missoula include:

  • Chemist. Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or chemical experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.
  • Geographic Information Systems Analyst. Study nature and use of areas of earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.
  • Hydrologist. Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; study the form and intensity of precipitation, its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and its return to the ocean and atmosphere.
  • Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Geological Specialist Training

The University of Montana - Missoula, MT

The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, Missoula, MT 59812. The University of Montana is a large university located in Missoula, Montana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,176 students and an admission rate of 96%. The University of Montana has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Geology/Earth Science which graduated eleven, six, and zero students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

ACSM Hydrographer Certification: ACSM - THSOA Hydrographer Certification is well-recognized and considered by many Federal, State and local agencies as well as private firms, seeking subcontractors when evaluating technical proposals for marine engineering, surveying, and construction.

For more information, see the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping - National Society of Professional Surveyors website.

Certified Ground Water Professional: The Ground Water Professional certification program began for AGWSE members in 1986.

For more information, see the National Ground Water Association website.

Erosion and Sediment Control Certification: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians engaged in all phases of erosion and sediment control work.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Missoula, Montana

Missoula, Montana
Missoula, Montana photo by Joshulove

Missoula is located in Missoula County, Montana. It has a population of over 68,202, which has grown by 19.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Missoula, 100, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Missoula cost $89,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-six new homes were constructed in Missoula, down from two hundred ninety-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Missoula are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 14 minutes. More than 38.0% of Missoula residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Missoula is 5.1%, which is less than Montana's average of 5.8%.

The percentage of Missoula residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 32.4%, is less than both the national and state average. University Congregational Church, Unity Church of Missoula and United Pentecostal Church are all churches located in Missoula. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Missoula is home to the Health Sciences Building and the KOA El-Mar Kampground as well as Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Fort Missoula Park. Shopping malls in the area include East Gate Shopping Center, Southgate Mall and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Missoula can choose from Best Western Grant Creek Inn, Comfort Inn Missoula and Sleepy Inn Motel for temporary stays in the area.