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Career and Education Opportunities for Geological Specialists in Laramie, Wyoming

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for geological specialists in the Laramie, Wyoming area. There are currently 270 jobs for geological specialists in Wyoming and this is projected to grow by 52% to about 420 jobs 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%. In general, geological specialists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth.

Income for geological specialists is about $31 per hour or $65,150 per year on average in Wyoming. Nationally, their income is about $38 hourly or $79,160 per year. Geological specialists earn more than people working in the category of Physical Sciences generally in Wyoming and more than people in the Physical Sciences category nationally. Jobs in this field include: petrographer, sedimentationist, and oceanographer.

The Laramie area is home to two schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Laramie where you can get a degree 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 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 Laramie 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Geological Specialist Training

University of Wyoming - Laramie, WY

University of Wyoming, Corner of Ninth and Ivinson, Laramie, WY 82071. University of Wyoming is a large university located in Laramie, Wyoming. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,920 students and an admission rate of 96%. University of Wyoming 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 seventeen, five, and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Geophysics and Seismology, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated two and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.


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.



Address: Attn: Ms. Geri L. Allen, Executive Director, 500 SOUTH THIRD ST, LARAMIE, WY 82070

Phone: (307) 742-1118
Website: WYOMING BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL GEOLOGISTS Attn: Ms. Geri L. Allen, Executive Director


Laramie, Wyoming
Laramie, Wyoming photo by Decumanus

Laramie is located in Albany County, Wyoming. It has a population of over 27,523. The cost of living index in Laramie, 96, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Laramie are priced at $156,100 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, eighty-six new homes were built in Laramie, down from one hundred thirteen the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Laramie are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 12 minutes. More than 46.7% of Laramie residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 19.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Laramie is 3.8%, which is less than Wyoming's average of 6.8%. About 22.6% of Laramie's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Laramie residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Shopping centers in the area include Campus Mall and Odd Fellows Shopping Center. Visitors to Laramie can choose from Holiday Inn, 1st Inn Gold and Woods Landing Store for temporary stays in the area.