Difference between a geologist and professional geologist?

I have recently graduated with a geology degree and apparently there are a couple of courses that I have not taken in order to meet the requirements of being called a "professional geologist". I would just like to know what are the advantages/disadvantages of being called a geologist and/or professional geologist? Do I have to be called a professional geologist? Will the pay be less if being called a regular geologist?

6 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    if you are able to work well as a geologist then you actually are a professional geologist. many people who have professional certificates but in fact they do not have adequate skills in the field. but for the purposes of administration and ease in finding a job then I suggest that you have a certificate as a professional.

  • obee
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Professional Geologist Exam

  • lare
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    a professional engineer is one that is registered by a state examination board. same with a professional geologist, there is a state board for registered geologists. same for barbers, electricians, and other "professionals". besides having academic credentials, you will need to take a standardized test of geology and laws that apply to geology. a professional geologist can offer services to the public as a consultant. some public agencies may require certain aspects of contract work be done by a professional geologist, mostly regarding geologic hazard recognition and mediation. if you work for a company, they determine your pay and it won't matter to them if you are designated as professional or not.

    when i graduated from school, there was no such thing as a professional geologist, so i registered as a professional engineer.

  • wally
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    A geoscientist is any scientist who stories the earth and earth approaches - he could be a geochemist, a geophysist, a geodynamicist, a palaeontologist, a geomorphologist or another type of professional - together with a geologist. In this respect a geologist is any one who reports the rocks, their provenance (the place they come from), their relationships with other rock models, and their structure. There are numerous specialisations within the subject of geology, including sedimentologist, structural geologist, stratigrapher and so forth.

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  • 8 years ago

    A geologist is anyone who studies the earth, even as a hobby.

    professional geologist is someone who gets paid to study the earth

    Source(s): ..
  • 8 years ago

    In practice, the distinction is actually a significant one, as Lare points out. Most U.S. States now have very specific licensure standards, and in most non-public sector jobs, your employer will expect you to eventually attain your P.G. In most States, you need those initials behind your signature (and the stamp that accompanies it) to certify particular kinds of geological work- stratigraphic correlations and potentiometric maps, for instance. Some States, like Alabama, actually require that things like groundwater investigations and contamination assessments be done by a P.G. instead of a P.E. A little overzealous on the part of the regulatory folks there, but good for us.

    Requirements vary from State to State, but generally, obtaining your license requires that you possess at least an accredited 4-year degree, document around 5 years of work-experience (post graduation) under the supervision of a licensed P.G. (or equivalent post-grad academics). and you must pass an examination. Most States use the ASBOG (Nat. Association of State Board Geology) test. This is a pretty general test of geologic competency, but I think California still has their own test which addresses region-specific knowledge as well, (to my mind, a prudent requirement). Many State Boards also require that you complete so many hours of yearly Continuing Education in order to maintain your license- another prudent (if sometimes-expensive) requirement.

    The ASBOG is separated into two parts- Fundamentals and Practice, and you can take the first part of the exam as soon as you graduate. I HIGHLY recommend that you do this, if you don't want to find yourself frantically re-studying Bowen's Reaction Series and phase diagrams and crystal lattices five years after you've seen that stuff, when you've been doing mostly boring-logs or seismic profiling since college. The second part of the test addresses more "practical" knowledge- the bread and butter of the working geologist like structural mapping, understanding of technical aspects - quantitative, real-world stuff. You can take that part of the test after you've documented whatever experience the State requires.

    There was once a "Geologist-in-Training" (GIT) appellation that was commonly used by working geologists prior to attaining their P.G., in those interim years after graduation. I don't think it's commonly used anymore, or at least, the States I'm familiar with no longer recognize the title officially... though it may still be used by some as a titular thing on reports.

    So, when you get a job with whoever, you'll probably start off as a "Geologist,"- Level I or some such, and your work will be supervised (let's hope) by an experienced P.G. After five (or whatever) years, you pass the ASBOG, and then you "get your stamp" and can begin the joy of exposing yourself to frightful malpractice liability when YOU are the guy or gal that certifies those profiles and pot maps and Corrective Action Plans. The bright side is that you should receive a really decent raise in pay at that point, as your work-responsibilities can be expected to graduate to the next level. Your employment prospects are, of course, better if you possess a P.G. license, and really, you cannot go into private practice without it. Frankly, a geologist who has been working for ten years who never got licensed anywhere- well, it can be a bit of a red flag. Just saying.

    I strongly recommend that you research the specific requirements for the State(s) you expect to work in, and keep those requirements in mind throughout your job-hunt. Make SURE that your next few years of work will make you eligible for licensure, once you do finally pass the examination. For instance, if you cannot document that you've been supervised directly by a P.G. over your work-history, you might encounter difficulty getting licensed by some Boards.

    Let me emphasize that these are only bureaucratic-legal distinctions, with respect to that particular title- "Professional Geologist"- as defined by this or that State Board. All this has no bearing on whether a geologist (lower case) is "professional" in his/her conduct or ability. Many academic geologists never bother with the hassle (and expense- there are fees, of course) of getting licensed, because they never encounter the need. Geologists employed by government agencies often don't bother with licensure either, since their jobs seldom require it. If you intend to work in the private sector, however, it's really necessary.

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