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Oswego Career Ladders - Geophysicist

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Industry: Energy
Area: Fossil Fuel

Geophysics is an academic field which crosses over into the practical arena in a number of areas. Specialization is significant early on and when applying for jobs. Geophysicists are trained mathematicians, physicists and computer specialists. In the fossil fuels field, they combine this knowledge with an understanding of descriptive geology which enables them to work closely with geologists in order to generate images of petroleum traps from the data collected.

Work Settings

Geophysicists work in the field, which may be onshore or off, or else in the oil company's scientific and technical center. In the field, they record data relating to the depth of geological strata and other features. Powerful computers are needed to record and process the raw data, which contain a mass of extraneous noise inherent in this technique. Geophysical technicians supervise this task, which is painstaking and often expensive, especially when the terrain is covered in dense vegetation.


Geophysicists study geology and physics; a bachelor's degree is required in the field, although more and more employers are requesting either a Master's degree, a Ph.D, or three years' experience. Coursework should include a basic geological core curriculum--stratigraphy, structural geography, and mineralogy.

Job Outlook

No data available


The average industry salary (median) reported is approximately $75,000 per year.

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