I want to be a geoscientist. What will my salary be? – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – April 16, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Job: Geoscientist – Salary: Depending on education, experience and location, people in this profession can start off earning $35,000 to $75,000 a year, according to Earth Sciences Canada. With more than five years of experience, the annual salary can grow to between $80,000 and more than $300,000.

Education: To gain the professional “P.Geo” status, you need a bachelor’s degree in earth science or a related field, followed by 48 months of experience working as a geoscientist. Geoscientists also need to pass an ethics exam.

The role: Geoscientist is a new term the industry uses to cover geologists, geophysicists, geochemists and environmental geoscientists, according to Oliver Bonham, chief executive officer of Geoscientists Canada, a national umbrella group comprising the industry’s professional associations and regulators.

He says geoscientists help society meet its needs for natural resources. “That includes all types of metals, minerals and earth materials, sources of energy, even fresh water and fertile soil,” Mr. Bonham said.

They also help protect the public from natural hazards, such as floods, volcano eruptions, earthquakes and landslides, by studying the earth and working with companies, communities, and governments to assess potential risks. They also conduct research with geological and geophysical surveys or government agencies such as the Geological Survey of Canada.

By the numbers: There are about 12,600 geoscientists in Canada (which includes oceanographers), according to the 2011 National Household Survey, and about 2,400 geological engineers.

Job prospects: Despite the recent slump in the mining industry and some cutbacks in the oil sector, the longer term prospects are good. Not only are companies going further afield to find the resources to support a growing population, but the aging work force means more opportunity for those coming into the profession.

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