Career Opportunities for Geoscientists in Canada

Geoscientists in Canada work outdoors and indoors in laboratories and offices and search for deposits of natural resources such as water, minerals, gas, oil, and metals. Depending on specialization and field of study, they work as sedimentologists, mining engineers, hydrogeologists, geochemists, geologists, and geophysicists.

Education, Qualifications, and Skills

Future geoscientists usually enroll in programs such as Geology, Geomatics Engineering and Geodesy, Earth and Atmospheric Science, and Geological Engineering. They study subjects such as physics, mathematics, geotechnology, and geochemistry. The selection of courses may also include mathematics for earth sciences and materials, mathematical tools, and chemistry of the Earth. Canadian universities that offer degree programs include the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and Queen’s University.

Skills that employers are looking for in job candidates include project management, problem solving, analytical, and computational skills, and observational skills. Students gain practical experience while on research trips and through summer vacation work and internships.

Career Opportunities in Canada

Major Canadian employers include research institutes and universities, government agencies, consulting firms, and gas and oil companies. Businesses looking to hire geoscientists also include earth materials, mining, and mineral exploration companies. In addition, many professionals find employment with software companies, businesses in the water industry, and specialist geophysical companies.

Career opportunities are plentiful and include positions such as geotechnical engineer, mining geologist, seismic analyst, and geophysical analyst. Seismic analysts, for example, often work for gas and oil exploration companies to help improve efficiency and minimize risk when drilling. They have experience with velocity modeling, wavelet processing, and seismic data acquisition. The average salary of seismic analysts is at $65,960.

Mining geologists work with different professionals and departments, including mine and regulatory engineering, reclamation, tailings, and extraction. They are responsible for analyzing and collecting geological data, developing projects, and consulting on issues such as gas extraction methods, resource management, and waste management. The median salary varies by sector, company, location, gender, and experience. For example, petroleum geologists in Canada are paid $203,000 a year on average, the salary ranging from $105,000 to $310,000. The pay includes benefits such as transport and housing. Young professionals with 2 – 5 years of experience are paid about $161,000 while those with over 20 years of experience get about $291,000. The salary also depends on educational level. For instance, professionals with a PhD degree are paid about $306,000 compared to $191,000 for geologists with a Master’s Degree. Women get 5 percent less on average.

Geophysical analysts work with different teams, including project management, field services, wireline, and analytics teams. They monitor for microseismic events, maintain and implement remote alarming systems, and use different geophysical instruments such as inertial motion sensors and high precision global positioning systems. They also carry out data usability assessments, analyze mapping surveys, and develop and implement procedures for reporting and data storage, analysis, processing, and management. The average salary of analysts stands at around $72,170. Pay is in the range of $50,000 - $145,000.

Geotechnical engineers are tasked with geotechnical design and analysis and site investigation. They are also responsible for site inspection and supervision, tender package development, and proposal writing. Engineers work closely with project support teams, project delivery personnel, and environmental scientists. The median salary in Canada is at about $68,440 and depending on experience, the pay ranges from $52,000 to $96,000.

Career opportunities for geoscientists are plenty, based on qualification. They also work in fields such as volcanology, ground investigation, water supplies, and geological surveying. Other fields to explore include glacial geology, pollution control, and environmental geology.

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Geo Science Programs in Canadian Universities

Top Canadian universities offer geo science degree programs, including programs such as Geology, Geophysics, Environmental Studies, and Applied and Environmental Geology. Institutions of higher learning that feature Bachelor, Master’s and PhD programs include the University of Calgary, University of British Columbia, and Queen’s University.

University of Calgary

The Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary offers graduate and undergraduate programs and degrees in Geophysics and Geology. Students enrolled in the Petroleum Geology program learn about different processes related to hydrocarbon fuels, including exploration, movement, and occurrence. They are offered a selection of specialized courses such as petroleum engineering, physical hydrogeology, and sedimentary rocks and processes. Students explore a wide variety of topics, including groundwater flow systems, classification and identification of sediments, rock and sediment components, and preservation and collection of samples. They also master practical skills related to field methods, field data communication, report writing, and independent mapping. The University of Calgary also offers PhD and Master’s programs, including course-based and thesis-based programs.

University of British Columbia

Geological Sciences programs are offered by the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia. The selection of programs includes Geophysics, Geological Sciences, Geological Engineering, Environmental Sciences, and Atmospheric Science. Students who choose the Geology major are offered a diverse array of courses, ranging from introductory petrology and introductory minerology to field techniques and principles of morphology. There is also a cooperative education option which combines supervised work with academic study.

Queen’s University

The Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering features two undergraduate degree programs – Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering. The latter offers knowledge in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and geosciences to help students solve engineering problems. Fields to which students have exposure include forensic and environmental engineering, energy resource development and exploration, and forestry. Students enrolled in the Geological Sciences program study the systems of Earth, including climate, energy resources, water, and soil. The list of career opportunities for new graduates is quite long and includes areas such as:

• Agricultural sciences • Climate change research • Surveying and cartography • Research and development • Water management and conservation • Gas and oil extraction and exploration • Government and public administration • Environmental contaminant remediation • Space travel and exploration • Natural hazard mitigation and identification • Environmental management and conservation • Renewable energy resource development and exploration

Another option for new graduates is geological interpretation, mapping, and research of other planets and the Earth. Students who need financial support are offered summer research and work opportunities, work study, named admission bursaries, and admission rewards. Under the Queen’s Undergraduate Internship Program, students are offered career-oriented, paid internships. International and domestic students are eligible to apply provided that they are enrolled in programs offered by the School of Computing, Faculty of Arts and Science, or Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Only students with GPA of 1.9 or higher are eligible to apply after their 3rd or 2nd year. They are asked to fill in a registration form and provide details such as student number, year of study, and companies and industries they are interested in.

Other Canadian institutions of higher learning that offer geo science degree programs include the University of Alberta, Thompson Rivers University, and University of Victoria. © | 2022