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Eric Ricci

Choosing A Career - Geophysics & Forestry

By: Eric Ricci
College Now Course - SD 11

There are many different things that interest me, which I consider on doing for a career. Since I am only 17 years old, of course, nothing is yet set in stone. Still two fields of work that I am considering or perusing is the physical science of geophysics, or in forestry (forestry is more of a hobby, I just wanted to check it out).

Geophysicists study the physical aspects and history of the earth. They identify and examine rocks, study information collected by remote sensing instruments in satellites, conduct geological surveys, construct maps, and use instruments to measure the earth's gravity and magnetic field. They also spend much of their time either working in offices, labs, or in the field. Since it encompasses such a large amount of work detail, there are many different things you can end up doing it with. Geologists and geophysicists held about 48,000 jobs in 1992. In addition, thousands of people held geology, geophysics, and oceanography faculty positions in colleges and universities. Along with these numbers, the need for scientists in related fields had been increasing, and shows to be a career which looks promising.

A bachelor's degree in geology or geophysics is adequate for entry into some lower level geology jobs, but better jobs with good advancement potential usually require at least a master's degree in geology or geophysics. Persons with strong backgrounds in physics, chemistry, mathematics, or computer science also may qualify for some geophysics or geology jobs. A Ph.D. degree is essential for most college or university teaching positions, and is important for work in Federal agencies that involves basic research. In 1993, The Federal Government's average salary for geologists in managerial, supervisory, and nonsupervisory positions was $51,800; for geophysicist, $57,929; for hydrologists, $47,793; and for oceanographers, $54,442. Geologists and geophysicists will be needed to help clean up contaminated sites in the United States, and to help private companies and government comply with more numerous and complex environmental regulations. This is what a geophysicist would probably most commonly do, and what I would end up doing if I end up as one.

Foresters who work for State and Federal governments manage public parks and forests and also work with private landowners to protect and manage forestland outside of the public domain. They may also design campgrounds and recreation areas. Foresters and conservation scientists held about 35,000 jobs in 1992. About one-third of the salaried workers were in the Federal Government, primarily in the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service and in the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management. A bachelor's degree in forestry is the minimum educational requirement for professional careers in forestry. In the Federal Government, a combination of experience and appropriate education can occasionally substitute for a 4-year forestry degree, but job competition makes this difficult.

Employment of foresters and conservation scientists is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2005, partly due to budgetary constraints in the Federal Government, where employment is concentrated. However, an expected wave of retirement in the Federal Government should create additional job openings for both foresters and range conservationists.

The only thing I will have you keep in mind, is that both of these, (especially the forestry one) are just ideas. I would want more money in the case of the forestry and in the geological sciences I am not sure if geo physics is the exact one for me. All in all, here is my research on two possible careers.