Geology as a profession
Geology is the study of the Earth. As a professional science, it encompasses interests ranging from the study of minerals and rocks to the study of ancient life and Earth history. Geological topics include earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding, coastal erosion, tsunami, the bones of dinosaurs, the sands of long-vanished sea shores, the structures of ancient mountain belts, and the drifting of continents.
Geology also includes matters of social and economic importance: the location of economic resources, the recognition of geologic hazards such as landslides, the monitoring of environmental pollution and the protection of water quality. Geologists are, in fact, among the primary workers engaged in studying and protecting the Earth's environment. Geologists work both outdoors and in the laboratory; the tools employed range from rock hammers, maps, and magnifying glasses, to electron microscopes, seismographs, and deep-sea submersibles.
It sounds interesting, but can I make a living as a geologist?
Absolutely! Geologists work in business, government, private practice, and in teaching and research. In governmental work, geologists are generally employed in federal and state geological surveys, environmental protection agencies, mining bureaus, and water resource divisions. Geologists employed in business or private practice do many of the same things as do government employees, but in addition they may explore for minerals, oil and other valuable Earth resources, and they may consult for engineering firms. Academic geologists generally do the widest variety of geological studies and provide most of the basic information commercial geologists use in their enterprises. Geologists in colleges and universities, of course, also train most geoscience professionals. In elementary and secondary education, many geologists teach Earth Science - the broad study of the physical Earth and its systems.
Individuals who may not wish to pursue geology as a profession may still profit from a geology major. A bachelor's degree in geology is an excellent beginning for a career in science education, paleontology, archaeology, environmental law, and even business.
Geology at Columbus State University
Columbus State University has an unusually strong geology program for an institution of its size. We have four faculty currently active in the department holding doctoral degrees in geology. Much of the advanced course work in geology is field-oriented, and our students have the opportunity to use the surrounding region as an outdoor laboratory. Columbus, being a Fall Line city, has an unusually wide variety of rock types and fossils close to the campus.