"Geochemistry gives rise seamlessly to biochemistry." -Nick Lane

Through the study of science, we have discovered so many brilliant aspects of our natural world. Nonetheless, since planet earth and the galaxies around it are so vast and extensive, to better comprehend each phenomenon, scientific topics are separated into categories.

Subdisciplines of science include biology, biochemistry, zoology, astronomy, astrophysics, analytical chemistry, and geochemistry, to name a few. 

Each science topic helps us better comprehend essential matters relevant to how species coexist and work together on planet earth. Also, through science, we garner a more sincere appreciation of our home and when we are surrounded by nature.

So, without further ado, let's take a more thorough look at geochemistry, how to become a geochemist, the potential jobs available for those who studied geochemistry, the regular job responsibilities of a geochemist, and some helpful tips to make working in geochemistry easier.

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Defining Geochemistry

the study of the earth
Geochemistry is the combination of techniques from both geology and chemistry. (Source: Unsplash)

For those who don't have extensive knowledge of scientific disciplines, the term geochemistry might as well be from another language. So, let's answer the question, what is geochemistry?

In the simplest of definitions, geochemistry is the study of the earth's chemical composition that includes its rocks and minerals. Geochemistry combines the academic disciplines of geology and chemistry so that students of the topic can better comprehend aspects of planet earth such as its crust and its oceans.

Chemistry and the transformation of elements and molecules are studied to explain the mechanisms behind major geological systems and topics of interest. 

Through geochemistry, all individuals can better grasp the following topics:

  • Petroleum systems, 
  • Mineral systems, 
  • Groundwater, 
  • Marine and coastal habits, 
  • Glaciers, 
  • Earth science, 
  • Air, 
  • Dust, 
  • Soil, 
  • Rocks. 

According to experts, geochemistry has major subdisciplines that scientists can spend their time specialising in. Such as? The following list highlights geochemistry branches:

  • Biogeochemistry,
  • Organic Geochemistry,
  • Trace and Elemental Geochemistry,
  • Metamorphic and Igneous-rock Geochemistry.

By studying geochemistry, we can all understand how processes control the abundance, composition, and distribution of chemical compounds and isotopes in geologic environments.

Geochemists enjoy a prosperous career, and since they were involved in many years of study, geochemists may find employment across various sectors.

The Educative Process of Becoming a Geochemist

To become employable as a geochemist, there are specific steps that must be followed carefully. Such as? Without further ado, the following list discusses the educative process of becoming a geochemist:

  • Secondary School: while finishing secondary school and receiving your leaving diploma is a given, it's worth mentioning that during the GCSEs and A-Levels, extremely high test results are required in subjects such as chemistry, physics, and biology. Why's that? Without fantastic marks in scientific disciplines at a secondary school level, it is impossible to consider getting accepted to further education courses in geochemistry.
  • Bachelor's Degree: before starting your career in geochemistry, a BSc degree in physics, chemistry, geology, natural resources, or any other geoscience is necessary. Most entry-level jobs require a BSc degree.
  • Master's Degree or PhD: to find work in academic roles, particularly in teaching and research, geochemists need to continue their studies and earn a Master's degree and a PhD. By doing this, they will have the skills to complete any task in front of them.

While the education process may be longer than you might have previously thought, the potential jobs available to geochemistry graduates makes it all worthwhile. Keep on reading to discover which employment positions are acceptable for geochemists.

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Potential Jobs for Persons with Geochemistry Degrees

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To become employed as a geochemist, it is essential to have a university degree in a relevant field of study. (Source: Unsplash)

Have you recently graduated from university with a degree that specialises in geochemistry? If so, are you wondering what type of jobs there are available for you? Have no fear; Superprof is here to guide geochemistry graduates toward finding a suitable job!

It's worth mentioning that a degree in any academic discipline makes the job search much more accessible since employers prefer to hire further education graduates for the skills they honed and knowledge they acquired. In addition, when a person possesses a degree in a complex field of study such as geochemistry, they are even more valuable to recruiters across various domains.

However, let's focus on the potential jobs available to individuals with a geochemistry degree relevant to their expertise. The following list highlights some of the best employment positions for geochemists:

  • Crystallographers,
  • Development geologists,
  • Environmental geologists,
  • Exploration geologists,
  • Geologists,
  • Geophysicists,
  • Mineralogists,
  • Oceanographers,
  • Oceanologists,
  • Palaeontologists,
  • Petroleum geologists,
  • Research geologists,
  • Stratigraphers,
  • Volcanologists.

All of the previously mentioned work positions require a university degree, and usually, a certification in geochemistry is enough to become eligible to work at those jobs. We powerfully suggest thoroughly researching all of the previously mentioned jobs to choose a career you feel comfortable with.

But, who are some of the most typical employers of geochemists? The following mentions sectors where persons with geochemistry degrees may find work:

  • Mining companies, 
  • Oil, gas, and energy companies that are private or public, 
  • Universities and research companies, 
  • Private consultancies firms. 

Regardless of where geochemists find work, the starting salary is relatively high, and there is constant room for improvement throughout the years.

Job Tasks of Geochemists

Depending on where a recent graduate of geochemistry finds work, the job responsibilities that they might have will change. Also, based on years of experience in the field, some geochemists might have more work tasks than others. Nonetheless, it is possible to identify the primary functions based on data from companies that hire individuals with a geochemistry degree.

So, without further ado, thanks to Prospects, we were able to find the most average work responsibilities of a geochemist and include them in the following list:

  • Analysing the age, nature and components of rock, minerals, and soil, 
  • Conducting sample tests and checks,
  • Working with a variety of specialist equipment to complete research. Tools may include mass spectrometers, microscopes and electron microprobes, 
  • Go out in the field at times to collect site samples, 
  • Map out geochemical areas for research and analysis, 
  • Interpret a variety of data and analyse results, 
  • Conversion with other professionals in your field, such as geologists, petroleum engineers, and commercial managers, 
  • Work with databases that track and organise geological and chemic information, 
  • If working in the private sector, you might share data and feedback with clients, 
  • Undertake long-range research, 
  • Write out technical reports and papers for investigative journals, 
  • Speak publicly about specific areas of geochemistry to others. 

The previously mentioned list encompasses a lot of the job responsibilities that a geochemist may have. No matter the sector or company that a geochemistry major is working for, they are likely to complete at least a handful of the previously mentioned tasks.

Depending on the level of expertise and years of training a geochemist has received, they may speak about their research and findings at seminars and conferences or be guest speakers at universities.

All in all, the massive amount of diverse work tasks completed by geochemists make it an exciting job to have.

Helpful Suggestions to Study and Work in Geochemistry

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When learning the fundamentals of geochemistry, it's a great idea to have a private tutor by your side. (Source: Unsplash)

When embarking on a new field of study or starting your career fresh out of university, there are a lot of unanswered questions and the transition process can be quite overwhelming. Nonetheless, instead of thinking that all hope is the only thing that can be done: seeking the advice of more experienced ones and heeding their advice.

So, without any further delay, the following are three fantastic suggestions that all geochemistry students, or those working in the field, should strongly consider:

  • Be Patient: just like Rome wasn't built in a day, it will take time to see yourself acquire extensive knowledge of geochemistry. So, be patient with yourself and take the learning process step-by-step. By taking things slowly, you won't feel overwhelmed and that you are taking things too quickly.
  • Take Advantage of Alternative Learning Resources: while you may receive some textbooks and learning resources from your professors and new employers, we think that it's a great idea to also utilise studying resources like YouTube videos, podcasts, blog articles, and informative websites. By using alternative resources, you will more thoroughly enjoy the process of learning geochemistry.
  • Hire a Private Instructor: since the process of learning geochemistry is quite long and may take various years to complete, it doesn't hurt to have a tutor by your side. A private geochemistry instructor that conducts both in-person and virtual courses is ready to adapt its methods to the needs of each student. Also, the helpful tips and tricks from tutors help make learning geochemistry easier than previously anticipated.

In conclusion, working as a geochemist is a rewarding career that is worth pursuing if you enjoy chemistry and geology. While not always easy to comprehend during the studying process, geochemistry students should focus on the fact that there are many employment options open to geochemists; the sky is the limit!

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.