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Career and Education Opportunities for Geological Specialists in Rapid City, South Dakota

Geological specialist career and educational opportunities abound in Rapid City, South Dakota. 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.

Income for geological specialists is about $22 per hour or $46,450 per year on average in South Dakota. Nationally, their income is about $38 hourly or $79,160 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Physical Sciences, people working as geological specialists in South Dakota earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Physical Sciences nationally. Jobs in this field include: geophysical laboratory supervisor, geophysical laboratory director, and invertebrate paleontologist.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Rapid City where you can study to be a geological specialist, among six schools of higher education total in the Rapid City area. The most common level of education 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 Rapid City 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.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Geological Specialist Training

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology - Rapid City, SD

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, 501 E Saint Joseph St, Rapid City, SD 57701-3995. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is a small school located in Rapid City, South Dakota. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,061 students and an admission rate of 83%. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has 2 areas of study related to Geological Specialist. They are:

  • Geology/Earth Science, bachelor's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Paleontology, master's degree which graduated 2 students 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: Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota photo by Xnatedawgx

Rapid City is situated in Pennington County, South Dakota. It has a population of over 65,491, which has grown by 9.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Rapid City, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Rapid City are priced at $147,700 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, one hundred ninety-eight new homes were constructed in Rapid City, down from two hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Rapid City are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 26.7% of Rapid City residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Rapid City is 5.7%, which is greater than South Dakota's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Rapid City residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 62.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church.

Rapid City is home to the Lazy J RV Park and Campground and the Pioneer Museum as well as College Park and Dinosaur Park. Shopping malls in the area include Haines Station Shopping Center, Baken Park Shopping Center and Baken Park Shopping Center. Visitors to Rapid City can choose from Lazy U Motel, Stardust Motel and Motel Town House for temporary stays in the area.