How To Become A Mineralogist
Mineralogy is the study of the minerals found naturally inside of the earth. A mineralogist studies minerals, their physical and chemical properties, and discovers ways that they can be used in everyday life for humans. You will use your knowledge of minerals and apply them practically, in methods such as mineral extraction. In order to become a mineralogist, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Why Become A Mineralogist
A mineralogist is a scientist that specializes in the study of minerals. A mineralogist is interested in rocks, gems and other minerals. All of these have physical and chemical properties which are useful to humans. Often mineralogists are interested in studying copper, iron, aluminum, and other natural minerals, which have many useful applications.
Mineralogists may work for a mining company. In this occupation, they may work on helping to process minerals from their ores, and developing new procedures for extractions. They may work for an oil and gas extraction company, overseeing extractions. Mineralogists monitor collections on the job site. They analyze the samples that are collected. They work on quality control, helping to improve the extraction process.
They write reports regarding minerals being extracted and their presence at a given site. They may evaluate the land to determine the presence of minerals. They will use computerized equipment to help with their job functions. All of this is useful information in understanding oil and gas extraction, water usage, waste disposal, and other environmental conditions.
A mineralogist is a good career for somebody who has a scientific mind, enjoys the outdoors and working with their hands, likes to do research and make new discoveries, and is analytical and a problem solver.
Mineralogists should possess the following qualities and skills:
- Enjoys the Outdoors
- Physical Fitness
- Critical Thinker
- Problem Solver
- Good Communicator
Mineralogist Work Environment
Many mineralogists work in universities and colleges. In this position, they teach students about geoscience and mineralogy. They also conduct scientific research in order to advance their field. Other mineralogists work for mining companies. They work in the field at extraction and oil sites. Mineralogists spend time in a laboratory, doing research and analyzing samples and data. Some mineralogists work for the federal or state governments.
When mineralogists are working in the field, travel is required to reach their destination. Mineralogists must wear protective clothing when they are working with different types of minerals. This work involves working outdoors in all types of weather.
The median annual salary for mineralogists was $89,780 in 2016, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Like many careers, the industry where they are employed impacts the level of salary. Those employed in the field of oil and gas extraction may earn the highest salaries – median salaries were $129,000 for mineralogists in this field. On the opposite side of the spectrum are people who work for universities, earning a median salary of $62,000. People who have been employed for longer periods of time and have more experience, tend to have higher salaries.
Mineralogist Career Outlook
Employment for geoscientists is expected to grow by 10 percent from 2014 to 2024. This is slightly more growth than average compared to other occupations in the United States. This category includes mineralogists.
There is an increased interest in environmentalism. The government is interested in scientists who can help with the extraction and processing of minerals. There is a desire to boost extraction of rare and more needed earth minerals. In order to secure a job in this field, it is best to have an advanced degree and several years of experience.
If you would like to become a mineralogist, learn more by reading below.
Step 1: Undergraduate education. In order to become a mineralogist, you need to have a bachelor’s degree. Choose from programs such as geology, environmental science, mineralogy, physics, and more. During your years in college you will focus on natural sciences and math. These classes will give you a good grasp on what it is like to be a mineralogist and help you decide if this is the right path for you. It takes four years to receive your bachelor’s degree.
Step 2: Continue your education. There are many conference within the field of geology and mineralogy. There are gem and mineral shows. You can visit these conferences to learn about the latest news in the field of mineralogy. You can network with people in your field and form connections. You may even present your research in a public lecture. It is important to keep up to date with the latest scientific news.
Step 3: Join a professional organization. There are many professional organizations for mineralogists, including the Mineralogical Society of America, the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, and the Geological Society of America. Being a member of a professional organization will make you seem more professional and reputable to others.