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Career profile: Geophysicist

Career profile: GeophysicistWant to help prevent natural disasters from destroying too many lives? Find out about the scientists who predict and monitor earthquakes.

A what?

Geophysicists look at the processes that formed the earth and other planets. A big part of their job is collecting and analysing information on earthquakes and seismic waves.

On the job

Geophysicists can work in a range of places – they can be found in forests, mountains, on board ships or safely in their laboratories! On site, lots of the work is around setting up complex equipment such as seismometers and then observing the results. You often need to be quick thinking as the working environment can be remote and your resources could be limited.

A big part of the job is then working with other scientists and professionals to review the information discovered and then communicating the findings to clients or the wider-public.

Geophysicists could be employed by universities, research institutes, governmental bodies or commercial companies, especially those concerned with energy sources such as oil, coal or gas.

How do I get there?

To become a geophysicist you normally need to get a university degree in a relevant subject such as physics, geology, geophysics or engineering.

Entry to a degree is usually with a minimum of five GCSES (grades A to C) and two A-levels/three H grades and five GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3), or the equivalent. Physics, biology, chemistry and maths are all useful subjects to take if you plan on becoming a geophysicist later in life.

Future prospects and salaries

The starting salary for geophysicist is around £20,000 a year. Once you have progressed to a management or specialist technical role you can earn up to £50,000 a year and more in some commercial companies.

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