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Careers: Geology/Geoscientist career choice help?


I'm a College freshman with options of getting a BS in Geophysics or BS in Petroleum Engineering, I want to know which degree is the best for versatility in the mining and oil & gas industries. After graduation, I want the options to work as an exploration geologist or geophysicist, mining or geological engineer or a petroleum engineer. which degree best suites my desire? I'm asking this question because I fear that if I get a BS in Petroleum engineering I will be stuck in the oil and Gas industry with no options to move into the Metal ore and Coal sectors PS: I know graduate school might be must for both option but which BS degree is the best to pursue for my goal?


The BS in petroleum engineering.  The PE has always gotten paid more, since there are fewer of them, due to the mathmatics requirements.  The Geologists and geophysicists have to get a MS to be hired and they still bet paid less.  Its a no brainer.  I am a geologist with an MS and my buddies both PEs were making more than me back in the 80's when we were new hires.  They are both working overseas now and have been for decades.

PEs are in demand right now due to all the directional drilling and enhanced reservoir work in the unconventional resource plays, the shale gas and oil.  Fracking and horizontal drilling might allow the US to be energy self sufficient in 10 years or less if the Feds, particularly the clown in the whitehouse will get out of the way.  

To be honest your quest to cut across one or more industries is really not obtainable.  Things are too specialized and if you try to spread yourself too thin, no one will touch you, as they will see you as a generalist.  A dual degree would be better if you really want to go that way.  A BS in PE and another in Mining Engineering.

Then you might be looked askanced at if you spend time in one job then bounce across the road to the other discipline.  Industries are pretty parochial.

If you have a BS in both, you'll have the flexibility of having both on your resume and won't look like you are just cross training.  

Do some research about exactly what it is that mining companies want when it comes to and "engineer".  I have worked with geological engineers and they were kind of a bastard, caught between two worlds, with no one wanting to claim them.  To me they were glorified civil engineers without the legal standing of a bonifide registered engineer.  

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Keith Patton


Career and educational options open for fledgling geoscience students. What courses you should take to prepare for the current job market.


24 years experience in Petroleum, Environmental Consulting and geological and geophysical computer software development.


Registered Geologist in Texas
Certified mapping scientitst in RS

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