How to become a Geophysicist

Geophysicists study the structure and composition of zones below the surface of the earth by taking measurements using seismic, gravity, magnetic and electrical data collection methods. The two main divisions of geophysics are exploration geophysics, which deals with the search for Earth's resources, and global geophysics, which uses the same techniques to study Earth as a whole and study earthquakes, magnetic fields and other phenomena. Geophysicists often specialise in areas such as seismology and seismic interpretation, borehole geophysics, mineral exploration, engineering geophysics, environmental or groundwater geophysics, or computer processing and software development.

Personal requirements of a Geophysicist

  • Enjoy technical and engineering work
  • Alert and analytical mind
  • Enjoy applying physics and mathematics in practical ways
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Willing to work in remote areas

Education & Training for a Geophysicist

To become a geophysicist you usually have to complete a degree in science with a major in geophysics, geoscience or a combination of geology and physics, preferably at honours level. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For further details, visit www.gooduniversitiesguide.com.au.

Avg. weekly wage:

$2,214

Future growth:

decline

Employment by state:

ACT 4.2%

NSW 8.9%

NT 1.4%

QLD 23.2%

SA 3.7%

TAS 0.3%

VIC 2.8%

WA 55.5%

Hours worked:

43.1

Unemployment:

above average

Gender split:

Male 74.5%

Female 25.6%

Education level:

Not completed Year 10: 0%

Not completed Year 12: 0%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 0%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 0%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 0%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 34.8%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 65.2%

Age bracket:

Below 35 years: 37.6%

Above 35 years: 64.7%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.




Additional Information
The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) website has a range of geoscience career and education information, including a list of recognised courses. After a qualifying period, graduates may be eligible for membership with the Australian Institute of Geoscientists, the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists and AusIMM. Student memberships are available with the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and AusIMM.
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