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Career and Education Opportunities for Geological Specialists in West Valley City, Utah

For those living in the West Valley City, Utah area, there are many career and education opportunities for geological specialists. There are currently 400 working geological specialists in Utah; this should grow 28% to about 510 working geological specialists in the state 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%. Geological specialists generally study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth.

Income for geological specialists is about $30 hourly or $63,720 per year on average in Utah. Nationally, their income is about $38 per hour or $79,160 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Physical Sciences, people working as geological specialists in Utah earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Physical Sciences nationally. Geological specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: mining production geologist, micro paleontologist, and environmental specialist.

The West Valley City area is home to thirty-three schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of West Valley City where you can get a degree as a geological specialist. Given that the most common education level 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 West Valley City include:

  • Astronomer. Observe, research, and interpret celestial and astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge and apply such information to practical problems.
  • 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

University of Utah - Salt Lake City, UT

University of Utah, 201 Presidents Circle, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9008. University of Utah is a large university located in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 28,211 students and an admission rate of 81%. University of Utah 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 twelve, two, and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Geophysics and Seismology, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated one, six, and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated zero and five students respectively in 2008.

Brigham Young University - Provo, UT

Brigham Young University, Main Campus, Provo, UT 84602. Brigham Young University is a large university located in Provo, Utah. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 34,227 students and an admission rate of 69%. Brigham Young University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Geology/Earth Science which graduated fourteen and nine 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: West Valley City, Utah

West Valley City, Utah
West Valley City, Utah photo by Joe Tordiff

West Valley City is situated in Salt Lake County, Utah. It has a population of over 123,447, which has grown by 13.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in West Valley City, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in West Valley City are valued at $108,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, ninety-eight new homes were constructed in West Valley City, down from two hundred thirty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in West Valley City are finance and insurance, health care, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 11.4% of West Valley City residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 2.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in West Valley City is 8.3%, which is greater than Utah's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of West Valley City residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 67.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Atonement Lutheran Church and Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church are some of the churches located in West Valley City. The most common religious groups are the LDS (Mormon) Church, the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

West Valley City is home to the Valley Indoor Market Place and the Mini Warehouse Condominium. Shopping malls in the area include Redwood Shopping Center, Valley Fair Mall and Granger Shopping Center.