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Career and Education Opportunities for Geological Specialists in Las Vegas, Nevada

Geological specialist career and educational opportunities abound in Las Vegas, Nevada. About 410 people are currently employed as geological specialists in Nevada. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 31% to 540 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for geological specialists are expected to grow by about 17.5%. Geological specialists generally study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth.

A person working as a geological specialist can expect to earn about $36 per hour or $76,420 per year on average in Nevada and about $38 hourly or $79,160 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Physical Sciences, people working as geological specialists in Nevada earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Physical Sciences nationally. People working as geological specialists can fill a number of jobs, such as: environmental field office manager, environmental protection geologist, and paleontologist.

There are nineteen schools of higher education in the Las Vegas area, including one within twenty-five miles of Las Vegas where you can get a degree to start your career as a geological specialist. The most common level of education for geological specialists is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Las Vegas 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.
  • 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

University of Nevada-Las Vegas - Las Vegas, NV

University of Nevada-Las Vegas, 4505 S Maryland Pky, Las Vegas, NV 89154. University of Nevada-Las Vegas is a large university located in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 28,618 students and an admission rate of 73%. University of Nevada-Las Vegas has 2 areas of study related to Geological Specialist. They are:

  • Geology/Earth Science, bachelor's degree which graduated 11 students in 2008.
  • Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated zero, nine, and two students respectively in 2008.


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.


Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada photo by Lasvegaslover

Las Vegas is located in Clark County, Nevada. It has a population of over 558,383, which has grown by 16.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Las Vegas, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Las Vegas are priced at $111,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,085 new homes were constructed in Las Vegas, down from 2,356 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Las Vegas are accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and health care. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and arts, entertainment, and recreation. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 18.2% of Las Vegas residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Las Vegas is 13.3%, which is greater than Nevada's average of 12.6%.

The percentage of Las Vegas residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 36.2%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Las Vegas is home to the Tule Springs and the Union Pacific Station as well as Jaycee Park and Dexter Park. Shopping centers in the area include Spanish Oaks Shopping Center, Wonderland East Shopping Center and Shadow Hills Shopping Center. Visitors to Las Vegas can choose from Doubletree Club Las Vegas, The Las Vegas Gambler and MGM Grand Hotel Casino-The City of Entertainment - Human Resources for temporary stays in the area.