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Career and Education Opportunities for Geological Specialists in Salem, Oregon

If you want to be a geological specialist, the Salem, Oregon area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 280 people are currently employed as geological specialists in Oregon. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 21% to 330 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.

Geological specialists earn about $31 hourly or $64,810 yearly on average in Oregon and about $38 hourly or $79,160 yearly on average nationally. Earnings for geological specialists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Physical Sciences in Oregon and better than general Physical Sciences category earnings nationally. People working as geological specialists can fill a number of jobs, such as: engineering geologist, environmental protection geologist, and mineralogist.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Salem where you can study to be a geological specialist, among seventeen schools of higher education total in the Salem area. Given that the most common education level for geological specialists is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying 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 Salem include:

  • Atmospheric Scientist. Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses.
  • 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

Western Oregon University - Monmouth, OR

Western Oregon University, 345 N Monmouth Ave, Monmouth, OR 97361-1394. Western Oregon University is a medium sized university located in Monmouth, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,179 students and an admission rate of 44%. Western Oregon University has a bachelor's degree program in Geology/Earth Science which graduated four students in 2008.

Oregon State University - Corvallis, OR

Oregon State University, , Corvallis, OR 97331. Oregon State University is a large university located in Corvallis, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,308 students and an admission rate of 86%. Oregon State University has 3 areas of study related to Geological Specialist. They are:

  • Geology/Earth Science, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated three, four, and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Oceanography, Chemical and Physical, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated three and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 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.


Geologist In Training (GIT)

Licensing agency: Oregon Board of Geologist Examiners
Address: 707 13th St SE, Suite 275, Salem, OR 97301

Phone: (503) 566-2837
Website: Oregon Board of Geologist Examiners

Geologists, Certified Engineering (CEG)

Licensing agency: Oregon Board of Geologist Examiners
Address: 707 13th St SE, Suite 275, Salem, OR 97301

Phone: (503) 566-2837
Website: Oregon Board of Geologist Examiners

Geologists, Registered (RG)

Licensing agency: Oregon Board of Geologist Examiners
Address: 707 13th St SE, Suite 275, Salem, OR 97301

Phone: (503) 566-2837
Website: Oregon Board of Geologist Examiners


Salem, Oregon
Salem, Oregon photo by Aboutmovies

Salem is located in Marion County, Oregon. It has a population of over 153,435, which has grown by 12.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Salem, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Salem are valued at $215,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-nine new homes were constructed in Salem, down from five hundred forty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Salem are health care, public administration, and educational services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 24.1% of Salem residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Salem is 10.2%, which is less than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Salem residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Salem is home to the Oregon Women's Correctional Center and the Oregon State Penitentiary as well as Waldo Park and Olinger Pool Park. Visitors to Salem can choose from Red Lion Hotel-Salem Reservations, Shilo Inn Salem and Econo Lodge Salem for temporary stays in the area.