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Career and Education Opportunities for Geological Specialists in Fargo, North Dakota

If you want to be a geological specialist, the Fargo, North Dakota area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. The national trend for geological specialists sees this job pool growing by about 17.5% over the next eight years. In general, geological specialists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth.

The average wage in the general category of Physical Sciences jobs is $26 per hour or $55,012 per year in North Dakota, and an average of $38 per hour or $78,733 per year nationwide. Geological specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: mineralogist, environmental geologist, and marine geologist.

The Fargo area is home to eight schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Fargo where you can get a degree as a geological specialist. Geological specialists usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Fargo 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

North Dakota State University-Main Campus - Fargo, ND

North Dakota State University-Main Campus, 1301 12th Avenue North, Fargo, ND 58108-6050. North Dakota State University-Main Campus is a large university located in Fargo, North Dakota. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 13,229 students and an admission rate of 80%. North Dakota State University-Main Campus has a bachelor's degree program in Geology/Earth Science which graduated one student in 2008.

Minnesota State University-Moorhead - Moorhead, MN

Minnesota State University-Moorhead, 1104 7th Ave S, Moorhead, MN 56563. Minnesota State University-Moorhead is a medium sized university located in Moorhead, Minnesota. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,486 students and an admission rate of 80%. Minnesota State University-Moorhead has a bachelor's degree program in Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other Specialties which graduated eleven students 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.


Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo, North Dakota photo by Unimatic1140

Fargo is located in Cass County, North Dakota. It has a population of over 93,531, which has grown by 3.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fargo, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Fargo are priced at $139,800 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred four new homes were constructed in Fargo, down from four hundred forty-seven the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fargo are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 15 minutes. More than 34.4% of Fargo residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fargo is 3.5%, which is greater than North Dakota's average of 3.2%.

The percentage of Fargo residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Fargo is home to the Elm Tree Square and the Market Square as well as Roosevelt Playground and Oak Grove Park. Shopping malls in the area include Valley North Mall, Northport Mall and West Acres Shopping Center. Visitors to Fargo can choose from Rodeway Inn Fargo, Wingate Inn and Sleep Inn Fargo for temporary stays in the area.