Ask a professional geologist any question, even an ordinary one, and you can easily see that geologists are some of the most deeply informed people in the world.
The average geologist is a polymath loaded with exciting information that cuts across diverse spheres from cultural to historical, geopolitical, and even all the way down to the prehistoric organisms that are or were once found around us.
And Canada, the second largest country in the world with such impressive geology spanning 500 million years that it’s believed to be one of the oldest regions in the world, is one the best places to become a geologist.
And today, we’ll be showing you this excellent guide covering everything from the ten steps you need to become a geologist to the top industries where your geology skills are highly needed and some exciting things to expect.
What is Geology?
Geology is focused on the scientific study of the Earth, its components, the nature of those materials, and the natural processes that affect them.
It encompasses the study of species that have lived on our planet in the past. Geology is concerned with the study of how the Earth’s materials, structures, systems, and species have evolved.
The Five Major Branches of Geology
Geology is a massive study, and your journey as a geologist will begin with understanding what branch and field of geology you want to major in.
While it’s easy to assume that geologists are just rock-enthusiasts obsessed with rocks the same way financial are enthralled by ancient landmarks, this isn’t the whole truth, as they’re at least five different branches of geology with about 37 fields in them.
These branches include:
- Natural Resources: This involves the study of rocks, landforms, and natural resources like oil and gold. Some important geological fields here include Petrology, Mineralogy, and Soil Science.
- Tectonics: This is the study of plate tectonics and how they affect life and our environments.
- Rocks and Sediments: The study of landforms through weathering, movements, and deposition.
- Chronology: The study of layers of rocks and the information they contain.
- Topography: The study of mapping terrains.
Three Top Geological Industry in Canada
Geologists are responsible for finding or exploring several critical natural resources that our economies thrive on.
These geological materials include several solid earth materials like coal, gold, and iron or other natural resources like water, oil, and natural gas.
As a professional geologist, you can expect to work in the following industries:
Canada already has one of the largest mining industries in the world, courtesy of the Canadian shield, a vast area of exposed metamorphic and Precambrian igneous rocks. Canada ranks among the top ten producers of commodity minerals worldwide, producing over 60 metals and other minerals.
The result is that Canada has become the largest producer of potash in the world, the third largest producer of diamonds, the fourth largest producer of uranium and aluminum, and the sixth largest producer of nickel in the world.
According to Statista, the value of Canadian mining exports is 106.6 billion CAD, and the industry employs over 100,000 people, including geologists, across various production sectors.
From the identification of minerals to exploration, geologists have a very important role in the mineral resource development cycle.
Just like Canada’s massive solid minerals deposit, the country also has the third largest oil reserve in the world, making Canada the fourth largest oil producer and exporter. And yes, Canada isn’t part of OPEC.
It’s for this reason that the exploration and production of this vast oil reserve is one of the most important elements of the Canadian economic engine. Alberta alone produces approximately 80% of all the oil in Canada, and other regions like Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Labrador contribute substantially to Canada’s oil exportation and production.
The petroleum industry has always been ripe for geologists. Geologists in the petroleum sector are tasked with discovering the location on which to build exploration facilities. They also estimate the amount of petroleum in the reservoir, conduct field analysis, and sort and interpret geophysical data.
Now, if you fancy being your own boss, then starting your geological company is something you should pursue, and Canada is the best place to pursue your startup goals.
According to Forbes, 25% of new businesses are started by immigrants. And in Canada, where there’s a very accommodating immigration policy, starting a new business is usually a great idea for individuals to create value, even in the geological industry.
And the key to making your startup stand tall above other brands is using a startup name generator to find a compelling brand name that’ll give your business a rock-solid foundation that can attract investors and employees.
Geology overlaps with other exciting fields of study like:
- Natural hazards
- Biology and evolution
- Structural engineering
Pursuing a career in geology will give you immense career opportunities.
How to Become a Geologist in Canada
Now that we’ve gotten a quick appreciation for geology and the immense scope of opportunities it offers, let’s proceed into what it takes to become a geologist.
1. Start Preparing in High School
High school is definitely the place to start if you’re still a student trying to decide which direction you want to go in your career. Like any career choice, the journey to becoming a geologist begins by establishing a good foundation in your middle and especially high school.
However, high schools don’t usually offer direct geology-related courses, so take classes like environmental science and earth science seriously. Environmental science focuses on showing the relationship between humans and the planet and the Earth’s natural processes. In comparison, Earth Science teaches the geological phenomena of the earth, like volcanic and tectonic activities.
And speaking of establishing a good foundation, it’s also essential to have a solid background in the scientific principles taught in core science subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology.
2. Pursue Relevant Professional Accolades
Besides your degree and license, they’re several other professional certificates that can help you on your journey to becoming a geologist. These accolades don’t have to be very professional, especially if you’re still young. Your focus should be on fine-tuning your love for the field of geology.
Receiving the Boy Scout merit badges for geology, going on field trips, participating in Earth Day activities, fun practicals like collecting certain minerals and rocks, and joining an after-school club like the geology club or climate science club, if your school has one, can go a long way to help you become familiar with geology. Developing a passion for geology is a vital ingredient to becoming a great geologist.
3. Get a Bachelor’s Degree
This is where you really get on your path to becoming a professional geologist. Canada has one of the best educational systems and some of the best universities in the world. Canada is very open to international students, and the multicultural community is something to look forward to.
The courses you’ve taken in your high school education will become the background that will ensure your progress in the program.
As we’ve earlier mentioned, they’re over 30 fields, and most programs will allow you to combine a couple together. Typically in Canada, you’ll earn your bachelor’s degree as a geologist after four years of study and completing your senior thesis project.
4. Gain Experience in Your Area of Geology
The next thing you must pursue is to get the necessary experience, and the best way to do this is to gain employment. As we’ve seen, Canada has several opportunities with robust industrial options for geologists.
However, Canada also offers graduate programs for hiring graduates with little experience through their public service graduate recruitment programs.
You can also opt in for a summer job while you’re still a student to help bridge the gap and see some practical applications of geology. This will go a long way to help you deeply understand your niche.
5. Obtain a License
Like several professional fields, you can’t truly call yourself a geologist in Canada without getting the essential government-recognized documents and licenses.
Though your journey to becoming a geologist may begin with getting your degree and doctorate certificates, it certainly doesn’t end there, you need a provincial license to practice in any province, and this law applies to immigrating workers and international contract professionals.
There are at least ten professional associations and regulators responsible for admitting new professional geologists in the country’s ten provinces. Each of these regulators has its unique registration requirement, and they consider applications from individuals at different phases of their careers and from various institutions from all over the world.
Some of their most common requirements include
- Minimum qualification of a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in a geology-related field
- 48 months (4 years) of supervised work experience in the field of geology
- Proficiency in the language of the province or territory of practice
- Good knowledge of professional practice, laws, and ethics
- Good character, conduct, and reputation
You’ll also be required to submit some documents, including several referees. However, prepare to take a Professional Practice Examination (PPE) with the provincial geological organization.
6. Consider Pursuing a Master’s Degree
We must mention that attending a Canadian University comes with the added benefit of being able to get a job, as about nine universities from the country are on the list of the Global University Employability Ranking of 2021.
And these could be helpful when you’re thinking of making further progress with your geological career. And getting a master’s degree is the best way to do this.
With a master’s degree, you’d be able to specialize in a particular field, learn, and conduct an advanced study of topics that were only introduced in your degree program.
7. Consider Taking Online Courses
Let’s face the fact; not everyone has enough cash to go back to get a master’s degree. But where there’s passion, there’s always a way. And with the abundance of opportunities online, you can typically get resources for any level of training you need.
Taking online courses, even if they’re just entertainment videos on geology, can go a long way toward improving your intelligence about the field. These courses are also available in various mediums, from ebooks, videos, articles, journals, and other forms of educational content, which is ideal for any learner.
8. Build a Network With Other Geologists
Building a network with other geologists will make it easier for you to learn, ask critical questions, get trusted mentorship, and have timely information on opportunities in the geology field. One typical example is the referrals required when seeking a Canadian geologist license.
Having a good network of geologists is a requirement when you’re an upcoming geologist. Even if you choose to take most of your lessons with online universities and resources, having a person that can put you through and answer the hard questions you may have is a priceless advantage.
9. Become an Active Member of a Geological Society
Getting the license to work as a geologist isn’t much of a guarantee if you’re not an active member of the geological society. After getting your operating license, you must endeavor to become a vibrant and recognizable community member.
Ensure you partake in community events and volunteer projects, and do your best to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your geological society. Geological societies like the Geological Association of Canada are a great place to start.
10. Develop Relevant Geological Skills
They’re several skills outside of geology alone that have the potential to shape how successful your geological career could become. And it’s vital to prioritize gaining these skills along with the knowledge of geology.
Some of these skills include
- Communication skills
- Computer skills, especially in areas like GIS software
- Writing skills, especially with resumes, cover letters, and report writing
- Analytical skills
Don’t expect your journey to becoming a geologist to be so methodical; it’s actually a long and arduous journey with many twists and turns. But with commitment and the right direction, you can get there in no time. So, what are you waiting for? Start your quest to become a great geologist today.
Grant Polachek is the head of branding for Squadhelp.com, 3X Inc 5000 startup and disruptive naming agency. Squadhelp has reviewed more than 1 million names and curated a collection of the best available names on the web today. We are also the world’s leading crowdsource naming platform, supporting clients from early-stage startups to Fortune 500 companies. Do you have questions or suggestions on how to become a geologist in Canada? Please leave a comment below.