Author Topic: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists  (Read 19378 times)

Cwadda

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Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« on: June 09, 2014, 11:25:48 AM »
Hi all,

I'm 19 years old going into my junior year of college. Currently an Environment Science major and have an internship with a company that specializes in consulting for occupational safety for building materials (asbestos, lead, PCBs, mold, etc). I have enough credits to graduate nearly a year early and am considering getting another degree - looking into Geoscience right now. So far I'm not too interested in what I'm currently doing, although it is great experience and can only benefit me as a stepping stone. So I'm not locked in to anything by any means.  I'm pretty set on getting a Master's degree, but I'm not interested in doing any more schooling beyond those 2 years. I'm looking to make a decent living, but not necessarily zillions of dollars.

If you are an in the Environment Science or Geology field (or know someone well in the field), can you please talk a bit about your career?
What is your education background?
What do you do/do you like it?
In your opinion, what are some good things to get into for that field?


Glenstache

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2014, 12:38:07 PM »
A few quick thoughts: An MS is the go-to degree in environmental work if you wish to move up into the interesting work quickly. If going the geoscience route, things that will pay off in the long run include: statistics, learn your groundwater hydrogeology, contaminant fate and transport. I simply cannot overstate how important solid technical writing skills are. If you can get into a formal technical writing class (often offered in engineering departments), it will serve you well and be something to highlight on your resume. If engineering has interest, they tend to get paid more than the gravel monkeys (geologists).

Almost forgot: 3 geology degrees up to PhD, 9 years as consultant in groundwater and environmental investigation/remediation. Like all jobs it has the parts that I love and the parts that I hate. I get to do a variety of types of work in a variety of settings, and get to work with some great people (both colleagues and clients). I really enjoy it and sleep well knowing that my daily work leaves the world a bit better. I also get a bit jealous of people who get to build widgets and see something more tangible than I usually see at the end of the day.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 12:48:36 PM by Glenstache »

Peach Fuzz

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2014, 06:13:01 PM »
I have a BS in environmental science. Two pieces of advice/observations:

1. Take ArcGIS classes (mapping software)  It's difficult, but not too many people know it so it will put you in higher demand and set you apart from the pack. Mapping and environmental work, at least in my experience, have worked hand in hand. The only reason I got my current job is because of the few mapping classes I took in college and my limited use of it in my college internship

2. I'm currently kicking myself for not taking a few harder classes to get an engineering degree. I went env sci because I didn't have to take org. chem 2 or go beyond the calculus 2 I had taken. Not sure what your goal job would be, but keep advancement in mind. I feel somewhat stuck now, and I don't think I could just jump back into school and take more classes since I left off in the middle of those difficult course groups without finishing (now I don't remember any of that information- "you don't use it you lose it" is real).

Glenstache

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2014, 06:22:01 PM »
+1 on the GIS. It is a very marketable skill. In consulting firms they usually end up being in a support role to many projects, so there is a lot of variety and you get to see a lot. A great GIS person on your team is really a great thing since they produce a lot of figures and maps that your clients look at.


Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2014, 07:39:42 PM »
I majored in forestry, which had a very similar curriculum to environmental science. I could have attended a single extra semester of undergraduate courses and come away with a double major. I have to agree with the others who suggested focusing on GIS. It is a highly marketable skill. I could have done two things differently that would have given me a significant boost in my career prospects: I could have taken more GIS classes, which would have expanded the number of job opportunities available, but not necessarily increased my earning potential; and/or I could have earned my M.S. with a thesis in forest biometrics rather than wood properties, which would have significantly boosted my earning potential, but would have pared down the number of locations at which I could achieve my earning potential (mostly I would have been limited to major metropolitan areas, which is not really appealing to me anyway).

I ended up choosing my M.S. path because the thesis that I chose allowed me to travel through Brazil for 3 months. In hindsight, it would have been more prudent to attend grad school with an eye on the future rather than the present. Good luck.

YK-Phil

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2014, 07:57:25 PM »
I'm an environmental scientist, earned a BSc in Geomorphology, then a MSc in Environmental Science with a focus on environmental engineering. From day one, although my focus in grad school was technical, I got more interested in the social/cultural/traditional environmental knowledge side of things when I realized on my first assignment in the Canadian Arctic that I (and my other scientist colleagues with MSc and PhD) didn't actually know much compared to some of the illiterate Inuit hunters and trappers I met in the course of the field work we were conducting. These folks had a vast untapped and intimate knowledge of their environment that only a lifetime on the land, coupled with the knowledge handed down from generation to generation, could teach. Thirty years later, I am still in the field, managing an agency that oversees the impacts of a diamond mine in the Canadian Arctic, focusing on ways to incorporate traditional knowledge in the environmental assessment and decision-making process. I enjoy this challenge, because it forces me to re-evaluate my own knowledge and vision of the world, and expanding my understanding of the inter-connectedness of the physical, social and spiritual components of the environment.

eostache

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2014, 09:07:41 AM »
(I've been lurking on this forum for a long long time. This topic motivated me to finally join.)

I have a BS in geology and a minor in GIS. I went to a cheap podunk state college as a very non-trad student (in my 30s). I graduated in 2009. Yes, I avoided student loans. The 2000s were the salad days for financial aid. I applied for every grant and scholarship I could find and got enough free money to cover tuition and some living expenses for every semester. Being a very low income, high GPA, female in a science field probably helped. But I digress.

As a geology student at a small school there were many opportunities for doing original field research as an undergrad. I did a lot of geologic field mapping. I also worked a summer as a field assistant doing geological mapping for the State Geological Survey. I got co-authored on that map and on a map I worked on with a professor.

I did a minor in GIS. I originally considered doing just a couple of GIS classes. The minor is 6 classes. I eventually decided that it's easier to list a minor on my resume than a few random GIS classes. I looked at the GIS as enhancing my geology degree (you need to know what to do with your field data), and as a backup careeer option. When I did the GIS classes I got a (low paid) internship job at the local BLM office for a year. I loved it! I learned a lot of GIS just doing the menial editing tasks that an intern does.

I did not have much interest in going on to grad school and still don't. If I went for a geology MS I would probably get fully funded at whatever school I choose. If I wanted to do a GIS MS I'd probably have to pay $25K+ for it myself. I enjoyed going to school for my undergrad but by the time I graduated I was ready to have a more tranquil life without studying all the time.

Despite getting my degree in geology, somehow I ended up working in archaeology. I work as a GIS Specialist at an archaeological consulting company. I like it a lot. I've learned a lot about archaeology too. I enjoy geology on my own time now. For my job I am basically a cartographer. I make maps for the field work and reports. My job has a very high "cool factor" when people ask what I do.

My job is not very high paying but it is extremely pleasant. My working conditions are stress free and I can easily bike to work every day. My manager even let me have an office cat (huge perk!). I sometime think I should look for a higher paying job but I'd be concerned that it would be more stressful (and no office cat).

I have more thoughts and advice on all this but I need to get back to work. More later.


SnpKraklePhyz

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2014, 09:27:21 AM »
Does the cat stay in the office or does the cat ride on the bike to and from work?  I'm enjoying picturing the cat in a basket on the front of your bike squinting against the wind!

anisotropy

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2014, 09:36:37 AM »
I am on the oil side (though NOT a geologist, I use advanced math :P ) but I believe the groundwater field is what you are looking for.

You might want to pick up geostat, geomodelling (often grouped in with geostat), and some hydrogeology courses. Doing a MSc on that would be ideal. Basic Chem also helps, might also be a good idea to learn some geophysics related to this.

From talking to my buddies that specialize in hydro/environmental:
Field work typically consists of testing samples and recording, sometimes you gotta collect the samples too.
Office work is usually mapping and modelling, and technical/report writing.
In the Canadian Oil Sands industry it pays decent. My buddies are paid between 65k to 85k (they got about 3-5 years of exp).

eostache

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2014, 09:40:34 AM »
Does the cat stay in the office or does the cat ride on the bike to and from work?  I'm enjoying picturing the cat in a basket on the front of your bike squinting against the wind!

She lives in the office all the time. On the weekends I try to stop in the check on her at least once. It's a good excuse for a bike ride (4 miles). We've had for her 1.5 years now.

I have my own office. With a big window. With a tall cat tree in the window (cat tree was dumpster dived!). She is napping in the cat tree right now. She often naps on my lap as I work.

My manger and I used to joke that we should have an office cat. Later I found the cat as an abandoned stray down the street from the office and the manager decided it was time for an office cat so I brought her in and she's been great. I'd like to take her home someday. I already have 2 cats at home.

PDX Citizen

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2014, 11:11:45 AM »
Good to hear from other people in the environmental field!  One caution on the G.I.S. route - you tend to get pigeonholed behind a desk if that is your focus (maybe better to have it as a side skill if you don't want that).  I majored in Environmental Studies with the idea that I would be outside working a lot.  After doing field work for a few years, which was great, but low-paying and seasonal, I went back to get degrees in G.I.S. and Geography.  While this made finding a full-time job easier, it pretty much turned me into a desk jockey.  Also, it seems like in the area I live (Portland, OR) there are A LOT of people getting G.I.S. degrees now - the software is quite a bit easier to learn now then it used to be, and I think the recession pointed a lot of people into it as a growing field with a bit of "cool tech" factor.

eostache

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2014, 11:35:10 AM »
Good to hear from other people in the environmental field!  One caution on the G.I.S. route - you tend to get pigeonholed behind a desk if that is your focus (maybe better to have it as a side skill if you don't want that).  I majored in Environmental Studies with the idea that I would be outside working a lot.  After doing field work for a few years, which was great, but low-paying and seasonal, I went back to get degrees in G.I.S. and Geography.  While this made finding a full-time job easier, it pretty much turned me into a desk jockey.  Also, it seems like in the area I live (Portland, OR) there are A LOT of people getting G.I.S. degrees now - the software is quite a bit easier to learn now then it used to be, and I think the recession pointed a lot of people into it as a growing field with a bit of "cool tech" factor.

I kept this in mind as I worked on my degrees. I'm quite a bit older than the OP (40s) and I decided I was now ok with doing mostly GIS behind a desk. I do get to go out and do fieldwork with the archaeologists sometimes and I find that is enough for me.

I decided nowadays that if I did fieldwork all the time that I would not want to go out and hike and camp for fun. After work and on weekends I have time and energy to bike ride, hike and camp on my own.

Jomar

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2014, 12:28:13 PM »
Unlike yourself, I never planned on specializing at all, and stuck with my BSc. I work for a large environmental consulting company and because my degree is pretty general (B.Sc Env.St.) I get to work on a range of projects and haven't been pigeon-holed into anything. Mostly I do Phase Is and IIs, but get to do everything from soil profiling to owl surveys. That being said, I make less than the specialists and don't have the same control over projects (fine by me). The field work is what I love! I have great technical writing skills, but am not a huge fan of sitting behind a desk and typing. I agree with PDX Citizen. GIS is a double-edged sword. It gets you a job, but it may very well not be a job you want. Sometimes they lure you in saying your job will be a third GIS and the remainder stuff you actually want to do. Then 6 months later all you're doing is sitting on your computer making maps. My best advice is to network network network! Since you're 19 and already have a great internship, I'm sure you'll be fine. Work experience is certainly more important than additional education (so long as you have the appropriate base level of education), at least IMO. That was incoherent, I apologize. But anyway, seeing as you're on MMM at your age, you've got your shit together and clearly don't need my help.

Spartana

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2014, 06:24:11 PM »
Hi all,

I'm 19 years old going into my junior year of college. Currently an Environment Science major and have an internship with a company that specializes in consulting for occupational safety for building materials (asbestos, lead, PCBs, mold, etc). I have enough credits to graduate nearly a year early and am considering getting another degree - looking into Geoscience right now. So far I'm not too interested in what I'm currently doing, although it is great experience and can only benefit me as a stepping stone. So I'm not locked in to anything by any means.  I'm pretty set on getting a Master's degree, but I'm not interested in doing any more schooling beyond those 2 years. I'm looking to make a decent living, but not necessarily zillions of dollars.

If you are an in the Environment Science or Geology field (or know someone well in the field), can you please talk a bit about your career?
What is your education background?
What do you do/do you like it?
In your opinion, what are some good things to get into for that field?
I took a slightly different route as I have both a Criminal Justice degree (B.S) with a science minor and an Environmental Engineering degree (M.S.) as well as 10 plus years in the Coast Guard as a ship's engineer (mechanic) often doing environmental law enforcement and pollution clean-up amongst other things. So I ended up working a government job as an Environmental Compliance Officer. I worked in the industrial wastewater field and my job involved inspecting and investigating facilities and enforcing various environmental laws - both civil as well as criminal laws. It could be pretty mundane but had it's exciting moments. At the Fed level you can check out the EPA's Enforcement and Compliance Division http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/criminal-enforcement-videos as well as your state's various departments for water, air, etc... pollution control divisions for similar type job. My state: http://www.calepa.ca.gov/Enforcement/ . Most require a science degree but not all require a law enforcement background.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 06:39:37 PM by Spartana »

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2014, 06:38:51 PM »
Thanks for the responses.

It's interesting that a lot of you are pointing out the whole GIS thing. In my internship company, we make sketches on site of buildings and perimeters to label with field notes. I'm just learning how to do so, but as a beginning intern, I was immediately interested in being able to do it on the computer to make it easier. My company isn't too technologically advanced. I suppose having mapping skills, especially for the computer, could definitely make myself more marketable. However, that said, I DO NOT want to constantly making maps behind a desk.

I am always reading and hearing Engineering is the way to go. A little background about myself. I started off as a Biology major and switched out of that because I wasn't interested in going to school for more than 6 years. I switched into Pharmacy, had a rough semester with that, did not like the idea of sitting in retail all day, and had friends in the program who were absolutely miserable. I decided it was more important to be happy than to kill myself trying to get into an extremely competitive program with an unpleasant career in the horizon. Also, many Pharmacists I spoke to said the market was becoming saturated with college pharm grads and the outlook wasn't as favorable. I switched into Environment Science when I got my internship with the understanding I didn't HAVE to go into Environmental Industrial Hygiene. Rather, the internship would serve as a stepping stone for something better I liked.

I have shy'ed away from Engineering because I took an aptitude test and found that I had an incredibly difficult time with spacial thinking (picturing things in 3D). Getting a D in organic chemistry 1 supported this notion. In addition, it would be difficult to get into the School of Engineering right now with a 3.0 GPA. I just feel like it isn't my shtick. A lot of the work we do at my internship is said to be similar to engineering - problem solving, designing specs, working with civil engineers, etc. I just don't know about it.

Another thing is that my employer offers to pay for grad school. A lot of the employees get a Certified Industrial Hygiene degree (CIH). Talking to a few in the field, however, they said it is a bit watered down and doesn't let you advance much. I'm sure I could convince my employer to get a different but related degree if I excel at what I'm doing now.

I figure that because I'm an entire year ahead in credits, it would probably be best to get an additional degree. I also don't want to cut my undergrad experience short. I still have to pick a concentration for Environment Science. A geology degree wouldn't be too hard to add either. The thing is, I haven't found anything that I'm completely interested in yet...

For the Geology people here, Glenstache and anisotrophy, can you go into a little bit more detail about your Geology experiences?






Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2014, 06:42:23 PM »
Hi all,

I'm 19 years old going into my junior year of college. Currently an Environment Science major and have an internship with a company that specializes in consulting for occupational safety for building materials (asbestos, lead, PCBs, mold, etc). I have enough credits to graduate nearly a year early and am considering getting another degree - looking into Geoscience right now. So far I'm not too interested in what I'm currently doing, although it is great experience and can only benefit me as a stepping stone. So I'm not locked in to anything by any means.  I'm pretty set on getting a Master's degree, but I'm not interested in doing any more schooling beyond those 2 years. I'm looking to make a decent living, but not necessarily zillions of dollars.

If you are an in the Environment Science or Geology field (or know someone well in the field), can you please talk a bit about your career?
What is your education background?
What do you do/do you like it?
In your opinion, what are some good things to get into for that field?
I took a slightly different route as I have both a Criminal Justice degree (B.S) with a science minor and an Environmental Engineering degree (M.S.) as well as 10 plus years in the Coast Guard as a ship's engineer (mechanic) often doing environmental law enforcement and pollution clean-up amongst other things. So I ended up working a government job as an Environmental Compliance Officer. I worked in the industrial wastewater field and my job involved inspecting and investigating facilities and enforcing various environmental laws - both civil as well as criminal laws. It could be pretty mundane but had it's exciting moments. At the Fed level you can check out the EPA's Enforcement and Compliance Division http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/criminal-enforcement-videos as well as your state's various departments for water, air, etc... pollution control divisions for similar type job. My state: http://www.calepa.ca.gov/Enforcement/ . Most require a science degree but not all require a law enforcement background.

That's another thing: is working on a Federal or State level "good"? Are the benefits generally good enough to pursue a job there?

Spartana

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2014, 06:54:03 PM »
For me it was a no-brainer because I was able to combine my time in the military (Coast Guard) with my time on a government job and get a pension at age 50 (normal retirement pension age is 55 I think unless you work in a public safety field as I did). The pay however isn't great but there are full benefits and a Defined Pension Plan at both the Fed and State level. However some states (Calif for example) are in the process of changing their pension plans and so a new hire may not be able to get a pension as early.  I actually retired at 42 but only because I lived very frugally and not because of my public sector pay. Private sector is where the money is and probably greater job diversity too.

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2014, 11:22:35 PM »
For me it was a no-brainer because I was able to combine my time in the military (Coast Guard) with my time on a government job and get a pension at age 50 (normal retirement pension age is 55 I think unless you work in a public safety field as I did). The pay however isn't great but there are full benefits and a Defined Pension Plan at both the Fed and State level. However some states (Calif for example) are in the process of changing their pension plans and so a new hire may not be able to get a pension as early.  I actually retired at 42 but only because I lived very frugally and not because of my public sector pay. Private sector is where the money is and probably greater job diversity too.

Yeah, it seems like more and more employers are moving away from pensions.


I also did not add this to my post above, but I am willing to change locations down south or out to the midwest. I would not want to move to oil places for months at a time though. I want a more permanent location than a bunch of temporary ones.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 11:28:33 PM by Cwadda »

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2014, 08:28:46 AM »
Bumping and also want to ask: what might be a good computer mapping software I could learn and use to draw buildings for occupational safety?

anisotropy

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2014, 09:56:21 AM »
For the Geology people here, Glenstache and anisotrophy, can you go into a little bit more detail about your Geology experiences?

Hi Cwadda, I am a geophysicist rather than a geologist. However, our licensing agency had recently removed our separate designations, and we are now collectively known as "geoscientists". Man i hate that word.

I started out in physics but was not smart enough to be a real physicist so I transferred to geophysics after struggling for 3 years. In the geophysics program I took some geology courses (including hydrogeology) but didn't do that great. I ended up getting a MSc in Reservoir Characterization (studying oil reservoirs by integrating "geosciences" and reservoir engineering) years later after I had started working in the industry.

My total "full-time" exp in the o&g industry is about 6 years. Currently I work in the oil and gas industry as a geophysical specialist. My work leads to identifying and exploring new prospects and enhancing recovery in existing oil fields. I dont deal with the enviornmental side directly although some of my classmates do it for a living.

sol

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2014, 10:02:26 AM »
I'm a 37 year old PhD geologist working for the federal government.  I love my job, but I had to stay in school until I was 30 to get it so unless you really love the college life I wouldn't recommend my particular path.

My job is about 90% desk jockey and 10% field work.  Usually, at the higher levels of education you get too expensive for them to let you actually go outside and do anything with your hands that they could be paying an intern 10% as much to do 25% as well.  But because I manage my own program and bring in my own funding, I get to sort of make my own rules.  The down side is that much of my 90% riding a desk is administrative BS like budgeting software and personnel management.  There's some actual work in there too, but slightly less than if I wasn't in charge of anything.

That's another thing: is working on a Federal or State level "good"? Are the benefits generally good enough to pursue a job there?

I like working for the feds on most days, though it kind of sucks when you get to be a political pawn in someone else's game (sequestration, budget cuts, pay freezes, travel restrictions, government shudowns).  It's hard to feel motivated when you get punished for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with how well you perform your job.

The benefits are better than the private sector and at my level amount to about 15% of total compensation.  My salary would be at least 30% higher in the private sector, though, so the benefits and pension only make up about half of the pay gap.  Federal civilian service is a relatively secure path to a comfortable retirement at age 62, but the reduced pay and golden handcuffs make it much harder to retire early.

I would generally discourage anyone from working for state government.  The pay is even lower than mine and the benefits, while very generous, are typically woefully underfunded and not expected to pay out at the promised levels.

ephillipsme

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2014, 10:32:57 AM »
Cwadda,

BS Soil Science and MS environmental Science.  Was involved in Wetlands delineation, restoration, creation (mitigation banking) and impact assessments, Only spent a few years in the field, Got into GPS surveying and GIS early 90's and moved over to computer networks and systems full time by late 90's.  GIS is an important side of the business to have a good grasp on.  Technical writing is a handy thing to have, and can help in other fields as well. You will also want to get data analysis and statistics in the mix.  Big Data or data mining as well as other terms is a huge and upcoming field and not limited to any one industry segment.

WranglerBowman

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2014, 11:45:24 AM »
I'm 29 and currently work as a Water Resources Engineer.  My BS was Environmental Planning and Analysis and my MS is Environmental Engineering and Science.  One of my biggest regrets was not getting an engineering degree in my undergrad.  I know you said engineering was a struggle but an engineer can go almost anywhere and do almost anything.  They also start at about 30% higher pay over an environmental scientist/geologist when you take your first real job after school...and your starting salary is important as that salary is the foundation of career.  It's also easier IMO to find a job because people know you're intelligent so you can do a multitude of different jobs.  Being a jack of all trades has many many advantages, especially when the job market gets tight, like it did when I graduated in 2007. 

I have slowly evolved from an environmental scientist to an environmental engineer and my new company has seen the value in having a jack of all trades.  I have GIS experience and AutoCAD experience, both of which I would recommend you have if you stay in an environmental or engineering field.  It's def important to try new things and reach out to superiors to learn as much as you can and be able to do a lot of different tasks, you'll always be the one to survive layoffs.  GIS def is a double edged sword, there's no shortage of mapping work in my field, but you can also get pigeon holed quickly and become a mapping robot.

Bottom line is if I had to do it again I would do everything in my power to get a BS in engineering, with a minor(s) in something environmental.  It took me 7 years finally earn an engineers salary, even though I had been doing engineering work for more than half that time, the word "Engineer" on your degree makes a big difference.  I'm motivated by money, not because I'm greedy, but because I want to retire ASAP so I can actually do the things I enjoy most, hunting, fishing, farming, reading MMM posts, etc...


Glenstache

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2014, 01:19:31 PM »
1. Take the hardest path you can accomplish while in school. The leverage you get from that later in your career will pay off up through the MS level. My PhD is largely vestigial for all practical purposes other than looking nice on my business cards.
2. Go to professional association meetings and meet people in the field and ask about what types of projects they are working on. ACEC has local chapters that cater to engineering and environmental careers and could be a good place to start. You will get much more feedback there on the range of career flavors than on MMM. You will also make some connections that could point you to other, more interesting internships/summer employment opportunities in your local area.
3. My geological training is in structural geology and igneous petrology.  I had 11 years in college all said and done, so took a pretty broad range of classes, plus piles of research time. I went into industry instead of academia for a number of reasons not really relevant here. My consulting experience started with an entry field position and quickly moved to more responsibility and control over projects. I do a combination of field work, report writing, technical analysis, meetings with clients (mix of business, lawyers, city/state/county agencies), and whatever else needs to get done. I work at a small company and would probably have less diversity if I worked at a larger firm. I do probably 80% environmental investigation and  remediation work with the balance as general groundwater hydrogeology and geology. My time in the field has decreased as I move farther along in my career, but will never be gone entirely as long as I have some say in it (which I will).

frugalnacho

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2014, 06:00:32 PM »
I have a BS in chemical engineering.  I work for a consulting firm doing air emissions testing.  It's an alright field to be in.  Lots of work, and I anticipate lots more with ever increasing emissions regulation by the government.   The job is about 50/50 office/field, although my position is actually about 95/5.   I didn't like working long hours at shitty plants.  I do it on occasion, but I basically told my boss to send the other less valuable employees along with a project manager and let me stay in the office and write the reports.  So I spend my day reducing data, calculating emissions, cleaning up spreadsheets, writing reports, and combining reports.   

When going on the road though I can save tons of money.  Many projects are done far enough away to necessitate a hotel stay, so I have no transportation or food expenses (company pays everything), my utilities bills at home get  greatly reduced, and I get a bunch of hours.  And since you may be working 60-70 hours a week the time goes by fast. 

I prefer to only work about 35-40 hours a week doing non manual labor.  I wouldn't mind doing a bit more field work than I am doing, but no one else is qualified to to take my place at the office, so i'll only end up going out on the big jobs needing more than 8 people.

I have been doing this for about 8 years at the same company.  I anticipate doing it another 10 years or so until FIRE, and probably at the same company.   I make about $60k/yr.   I could make more if I wanted to take on more responsibility or switch companies, but this is a pretty laid back company and I get a lot of perks with it.  (short commute, I can roll in late(and frequently do), I can listen to music in my office, i can borrow company vehicles for personal use when needed, they have a very lax alcohol/drug policy, good group of coworkers)

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2014, 06:25:51 PM »
I feel like getting an Engineering undergrad degree at this point is unattainable. I would be set back over a year. Also, I only have a 3.0 GPA and my mind isn't engineering oriented.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 06:54:59 PM by Cwadda »

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2014, 06:35:54 PM »
*IF* you want to get an engineering BS, and the cost is holding you back, then you should look at the economics of it. If you end up getting paid an extra 10k per year as an engineer and your additional cost to get that year is 40k (assumed 1-year income at non-engineering job) plus annual school cost (call it 20k), then your payback is 6 years, not accounting for the time-value of money. Adjust numbers to be realistic to your situation. If you're not intrinsically motivated to be an engineer, then it doesn't matter. If the job will make you happier, then 6 +/- years payback on the education investment may be worth it.

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2014, 06:50:45 PM »
*IF* you want to get an engineering BS, and the cost is holding you back, then you should look at the economics of it. If you end up getting paid an extra 10k per year as an engineer and your additional cost to get that year is 40k (assumed 1-year income at non-engineering job) plus annual school cost (call it 20k), then your payback is 6 years, not accounting for the time-value of money. Adjust numbers to be realistic to your situation. If you're not intrinsically motivated to be an engineer, then it doesn't matter. If the job will make you happier, then 6 +/- years payback on the education investment may be worth it.

The financial part makes perfect sense to me; however, I feel like my mind isn't wired to be an Engineer.

An extensive aptitude test I took had me scoring in the 6 percentile of all participants for spacial thinking. Basically, I had an extremely difficult and frustrating time trying to put together a nine piece 3D puzzle with wiggle-shaped pieces. I also had a difficult time picturing what a flat hole punched paper would look like when opened up.

When I took Organic Chem as part of the Pharmacy track, I started off the first 2 exams with a 98 and an 82. When we got to the reactions where the geometry, chirality, mechanisms, etc, I just couldn't understand how they worked. And memorizing them does no good; you must understand how they work. I had around a 95 average halfway through the class and ended up with a D in the class.

I've quickly learned that these DO NOT make me happy. I value happiness of money any day.

Is this an accurate description of the mind you need for the path of an Engineer? I feel like this type of thinking is integral for that career.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 06:54:25 PM by Cwadda »

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2014, 07:05:45 PM »
I'm a geologist, I work for a State Government. The job is pretty great, I do a lot of driving around the state in the summer, going to different sites, quarries, etc. Then I come back and write reports. I used to be in environmental consulting, and that wasn't so great. Long hours, lots of travel, contaminated work sites, low pay, but similar field work/report writing mix. Working for the state is a lot better, though (better pay, better benefits, more time off, pension). The best part is that I only have to work 37.5 hours a week and I get 5 weeks of vacation a year.

I only have a bachelor's degree. Geology/Biology double major, minor in math. I was thinking of going to grad school, even got accepted to Duke, but didn't get any money from them and I didn't want to take out a $30,000 loan. My ungrad school had a 5 year engineering masters degree program that I thought about doing, but I decided against it. My official title is "Engineering Geologist" anyway, now and I'm working towards getting my P.E.

I like the job, I like that work slows down in the winter and I get to take my vacation days and ski a lot. I like being outside and driving around by myself and listening to the radio.

I could probably make more money if I worked for an oil company, but it would offend my environmental sensibilities. I like the work, it pays well enough, and it's not too time demanding like a lot of Geology/Environmental Jobs. I always think about going back to school for my Masters, but I don't want to give up the nice income for 2 years.

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2014, 07:26:24 PM »
Quote
I'm a geologist, I work for a State Government. The job is pretty great, I do a lot of driving around the state in the summer, going to different sites, quarries, etc. Then I come back and write reports.

So you are not specialized in anything? What is your compensation package if you don't mind sharing?

I don't want to work for an oil company either that will put me far away from home (I live in CT) or that moves me all around. I also am totally into being independent in work. I work well independently, although I enjoy a collaborative effort as a team.

mattchuck2

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2014, 04:45:14 AM »
I get to work alone all the time, which is awesome.

Without giving too much away, I work for a Transportation Department, where I travel around to bridge footing excavations, rock slopes on the side of the road, quarries to inspect rock used for fill, etc.

My pay, after 8 years on the job, is $69,600 a year, plus all of those cool benefits. I'm 34 and everyone else in my department is over 55. They make more than me.

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2014, 08:53:41 AM »
Bumping for more replies.

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2014, 10:36:22 AM »
Much of geology requires 3D thinking. It is a skill that can be improved, but you may be at a disadvantage relative to those who just happen to be good at it. That said, there are many disciplines such as geochemistry that don't require those skills to the same degree. There is also work for toxicologists, though this would involve more o-chem and depending on your disposition, it could be a tediuos line of work.

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2014, 10:03:22 AM »
2 weeks later. I am working at my internship and the work isn't too interesting. I feel like the guys that have already graduated are pigeon-holed as technicians.

I'm 100% prepared to go for a Master's degree. I think I am going to get some form of Geoscience degree. I've always found geoscience interesting since I was little. I also love being outdoors and being independent.

Anyone else want to share?

Rika Non

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2014, 10:45:43 AM »
B.S. Geology w/ M.S. Hydrology

I ended up in the oilfield over environmental or hydrology and love working in the 'patch.
For anisotropy; I'm the other physics, petrophysics. 

For Cwadda:  Since I am actually in the management side of things now, for most better jobs in any of the earth science fields you will definitely want a Masters.  Most of the larger companies are international, and globally more and more new hires are starting with a minimum of a M.S.  Why this matters is with the larger companies HR is involved it becomes harder to pull ahead for promotions / moves / etc there will be a pool of potential employees.  If you are a B.S. only and the other guy has as M.S. it will push the decision in the favor of the M.S holder unless you really are that much better.  Now I work with people who have made it very high up the corporate ladder without an advanced degree (but they are exceptionally smart people), but I also have friends who know they have been passed over by not having a masters.  I started with a M.S. and I moved up quickly.  The other side of that equation was that I was always willing to move for new positions and I never said no to new job position even outside my core fields.

LibrarIan

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2014, 11:04:40 AM »
I have a BS in geology, minor in physics and... a master's degree in library and information science. I haven't really done anything with my geology background, but I know a lot of people who have from my days in college. I really enjoyed learning about the Earth and researching, but I learned that my interest was more from curiosity than a drive to actually do work in the field. Hence librarianship. I can learn about all sorts of things and get paid to do it ;-). (Although I work in software development at the moment - I'm all over the map!)

My best friend lives in Oklahoma doing geologist site work for Chesapeake Energy. He gets paid a lot and seems to enjoy his job (despite having to live in a topographically boring place). He's on call like all the time though.

Another friend was in West Virginia doing mud logging on a drill site. He hated that because it was essentially bitch work and you had to live in a tiny little trailer on the site for like three month spans of time until you got some time off. Sounded like a lot of repetitive labor.

A good friend lives in the Cincinnati area doing development and troubleshooting on GIS platforms. He has a heavy CS background, so this made a lot of sense. He uses his wads of cash to go mountain climbing and hiking in his spare time all over the world.

Yet another friend got a job as a professor of geology in Texas. She is a born teacher! Don't forget there is always this option.

Another dude is a geosteerer in Pittsburgh somewhere. It sounds like a pretty neat job, indeed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geosteering.

Just know that there are lots of options out there, but so many people tend to fall into the energy sector with regards to geology. I don't know anything abut environmental, but it seems like everyone else has this covered for you.

anisotropy

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2014, 11:42:53 AM »
B.S. Geology w/ M.S. Hydrology

I ended up in the oilfield over environmental or hydrology and love working in the 'patch.
For anisotropy; I'm the other physics, petrophysics. 

For Cwadda:  Since I am actually in the management side of things now, for most better jobs in any of the earth science fields you will definitely want a Masters.  Most of the larger companies are international, and globally more and more new hires are starting with a minimum of a M.S.  Why this matters is with the larger companies HR is involved it becomes harder to pull ahead for promotions / moves / etc there will be a pool of potential employees.  If you are a B.S. only and the other guy has as M.S. it will push the decision in the favor of the M.S holder unless you really are that much better.  Now I work with people who have made it very high up the corporate ladder without an advanced degree (but they are exceptionally smart people), but I also have friends who know they have been passed over by not having a masters.  I started with a M.S. and I moved up quickly.  The other side of that equation was that I was always willing to move for new positions and I never said no to new job position even outside my core fields.

Cwadda,
I agree with bako_frugal's advice. Some Big Oil still hire B.S. graduates here in Canada but it's quite rare in the States or world-wide, most require M.S. I know you mentioned you don't want to do Oil or be away from home, it is in my opinion an option worth exploring as it's a very quick short-cut to FI.

Bako_frugal,
Hi ! Can I get some porosity, perm and Sw if I give you this page of squigly lines? Oh wait you are in managment now.... hmm how about a job when oilsand plays go out of flavor? :)

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2014, 12:47:20 PM »
Thanks for the responses so much. Yesterday I was in panic mode about the whole thing but this really helps.

I've thought about and talked about moving away from my family after I graduate and they said it would be a good thing for me. I think oil, gas, and mining exploration would be an incredible experience. You get to see some really interesting places and technology.

What I mean is that I wouldn't want to do a job like that for a lifelong career. It's not really family compatible. I think it would be really cool to do it for a few years though. Working internationally would be a whole new decision, but moving to a remote location in the states would be cool. It is a quick way to catch on FIRE as well, which helps.

bako_frugal, I have a few other questions for you - I think you are the perfect person to ask because you are in management.

Say I have 4 options that would allow me to graduate in 4 years or fewer
1. Get an Environmental Geoscience degree.
2. Get an Environmental Geoscience degree with another degree in Geoscience.
3. Get an Environmental Science degree with a different concentration (Chemistry, Biology, Soil) with another degree in Geoscience.
4. Get a Geoscience degree only

What would be the right move here in terms of employability and going for a grad school program for geoscience? I have environmental experience through my internship right now. I do occupational safety for building materials. There is also a branch of the company that does subsurface environmental work. Will having that extra ES degree help?

sol

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2014, 01:19:09 PM »
I agree that people with BS degrees are typically pigeonholed as technicians.  Geology is one of those fields where a BS is considered the minimum degree required for entry, and you'll need something more if you want to do anything really interesting.  Unless being a technician is interesting to you, and I can totally see the appeal for certain types of people.  The pay isn't bad, you get to work on a variety of projects, and you don't have to carry much responsibility.

As for choosing your degree, I don't think a double degree is very helpful.  You're better off with a straight up geology degree from a top ten school then a double degree from your local state university, whatever that is.  Dual degrees offer you more options for pursuing graduate work in a different field, but that's about the only advantage I can think of.

BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2014, 02:23:07 PM »
Quote
what might be a good computer mapping software I could learn and use to draw buildings for occupational safety?

Not quite sure whether you are looking for a mapping software (something to lay out buildings like a city planner, a GIS) or an architectural software (like AutoCAD)?  If the former, there are a number of terrific free, open-source GIS's -- QGIS is very good and the skills would transfer well if you subsequently went to work somewhere that had (expensive) ArcGIS. 

Quote
anisotropy

Knew you must be in this field!  :) 

libertarian4321

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #40 on: June 29, 2014, 12:10:27 AM »
I've been in the environmental field for 26 years now.  Working mostly in the government (when I was active duty military) or for the government (as a consultant).  Mostly for the Department of Defense (there is a lot of work there- the military made lots of messes over the years :)

I have a BS in Chemical Engineering, but Uncle Sammy (I had an ROTC scholarship) said "screw that, son, you are now an Environmental Engineer!"

I later got an MBA and a MEng in Environmental Engineering.  The MBA actually comes in pretty handy, believe it or not- once you get to even the lowest level of management (e.g. project management), you'll find that some of those MBA skills come in handy (note: The MBA should not be a first priority, but if you get a chance down the road, take it).

I have worked for HUGE consulting firms (which I generally hated) and tiny firms (which pay less, but which I vastly prefer). 

Regarding the degree.  In my opinion, the best degrees are either Environmental Engineering or Geology (preferably specializing in Hydrogeology as that is very important in groundwater remediation).  You can get a job with an Environmental Science (or similar) degree, but it's a lot harder because there are a lot of those folks out there, and a lot less of the Engineers and Hydros (probably because Env. Science is an easier degree).

Also, learn how to write well.  You don't have to be Shakespeare, but learn to write clearly and concisely. I know you need to learn the technical stuff, but take an extra writing class or two.  I can't tell you how much time I spend translating documents, written by technically brilliant engineers (guys who know far more than I do technically), from gibberish to English. 

And while you are at it, learn to speak and give presentations.  It's painful to watch a brilliant engineer turn into a profusely sweating puddle of goo just because he has to give a 15-minute presentation to a crowd of 20 people.

Also, the people who get the furthest in the field are generally not those that are technically proficient, but those that are slick, fast talking salesmen and bull shit artists.  Bringing in clients is far more important to your long term success with most companies, large or small, than your ability to efficiently remediate a TCE spill.  That is if by "success" you mean moving up the corporate ladder.

kh

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #41 on: June 29, 2014, 06:59:45 AM »
CT geologist here. Getting at least a master's will greatly improve your employment opportunities.

For a bit of a different perspective, my undergrad was in biology and geology, with a PhD in geology as well. I'm now in the reinsurance field, building natural catastrophe models. I get a lot of independence, and the pay is similar to oil, but in higher cost areas than Houston-mostly NYC, Boston, San Francisco. I'm 29 and two years into my job, making about $160k. And I'm out the door at 4:45 every day...it's a little embarrassing. I specialize in climate change problems, but my research department is so small, I'm the one called in on anything from tsunamis to wildfires to hailstorms.

Learn to write code (I use Python, but there are many good options). Learn GIS.

SnackDog

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #42 on: June 29, 2014, 08:35:34 AM »
If you can swing it you would be better off getting an engineering degree.  In large companies, engineers do just fine with a B.A. degree (which can save you quite a few years of school and some money) and tend to outperform the earth scientists in promotions and management positions.  Depending on the country and payroll onto which you are hired, the engineering degree may be quite generic (chem e, mech e, civ e, etc) or could require more specificity (pet eng, env eng, etc).

In any case, pursue what you like best!  I would tend to discount the comments about energy companies being a bad place for environmentalists - most oil company staff I know are as environmentally concerned and aware as the tree huggers.  Oil companies do hire large numbers of environmental scientists, biologists, etc.

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #43 on: June 29, 2014, 11:38:43 AM »
Should I get Environment Science and Geology? Or just Geology?

Glenstache

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2014, 12:04:29 PM »
If both are equally interesting to you, I would recommend the Geology and do what you can to stack your course load with applicable courses in hydrology, groundwater, geochemistry. Statistics is a really good thing to have in your back pocket as well because it makes you a better scientist.

+1 on comments above regarding MS degree, and learning technical writing. We ask for writing samples from all potential hires.

If your general intent is to go through the MS, see if you can get involved in a research project with one of the professors in the department. This is partly because it is fun (I'm biased here), but also because it will put you in a far, far better position when looking at grad school. With a research project under your belt you will be in a better position to choose where you go to grad school and get a better financial package (no student loans for the MS!). This is pretty generic to all of the hard sciences, so is applicable beyond just geology.


Rika Non

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #45 on: June 30, 2014, 11:57:17 AM »


bako_frugal, I have a few other questions for you - I think you are the perfect person to ask because you are in management.

Say I have 4 options that would allow me to graduate in 4 years or fewer
1. Get an Environmental Geoscience degree.
2. Get an Environmental Geoscience degree with another degree in Geoscience.
3. Get an Environmental Science degree with a different concentration (Chemistry, Biology, Soil) with another degree in Geoscience.
4. Get a Geoscience degree only

What would be the right move here in terms of employability and going for a grad school program for geoscience? I have environmental experience through my internship right now. I do occupational safety for building materials. There is also a branch of the company that does subsurface environmental work. Will having that extra ES degree help?
[/quote]

Cwadda:

From my experience if you are in the environmental field, I would definitely do option 3 (Environmental with something else, the more math the better).  Most of my peers who stayed in the environmental field are in some sort of compliance position (air quality or environmental impact studies).  It's your +other degree that usually helps launch your career.  Once you are past +5 years of experience it is your work history not your degrees that matter, with the one exception of when changing companies.

If you can handle the math, when I worked for one of the majors, all the senior managers & up were all engineers.  Even if it takes an extra year, getting a M.S. with the added word of "engineering" does matter. 

As far as "matters" goes, the basic totem pole is this:

1: PhD (usually pure science such as physics, math, chemistry)
2: M.S. Engineering
3. M.S. Other pure science (geology, chemistry, etc).
4. B.S. Engineering
5. B.S. Other pure science

Always aim highest up the chain, also when initially working try to stay as technically focused as possible.  Solid technical skills for the first 1-5 years especially if you can be loaned or transferred across functional groups helps.

Many companies will start new hires as technicians to gauge them.  They are looking for self-starters.  They'll put you to work and ignore you.  If you want to move up you have to standup for yourself and push for it.  If you are willing to sit back and do the work that is given; you will just get bypassed and labeled as task-oriented.  The longer you stay at a lower position early in your career will carry through, and you'll typically top out at a low mid-level.

You meet a lot more people who wish they could go back and smack their 20-something-self stupid then go back and congratulate their 20-something-self.     

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #46 on: June 30, 2014, 12:18:46 PM »


bako_frugal, I have a few other questions for you - I think you are the perfect person to ask because you are in management.

Say I have 4 options that would allow me to graduate in 4 years or fewer
1. Get an Environmental Geoscience degree.
2. Get an Environmental Geoscience degree with another degree in Geoscience.
3. Get an Environmental Science degree with a different concentration (Chemistry, Biology, Soil) with another degree in Geoscience.
4. Get a Geoscience degree only

What would be the right move here in terms of employability and going for a grad school program for geoscience? I have environmental experience through my internship right now. I do occupational safety for building materials. There is also a branch of the company that does subsurface environmental work. Will having that extra ES degree help?

Cwadda:

From my experience if you are in the environmental field, I would definitely do option 3 (Environmental with something else, the more math the better).  Most of my peers who stayed in the environmental field are in some sort of compliance position (air quality or environmental impact studies).  It's your +other degree that usually helps launch your career.  Once you are past +5 years of experience it is your work history not your degrees that matter, with the one exception of when changing companies.

If you can handle the math, when I worked for one of the majors, all the senior managers & up were all engineers.  Even if it takes an extra year, getting a M.S. with the added word of "engineering" does matter. 

As far as "matters" goes, the basic totem pole is this:

1: PhD (usually pure science such as physics, math, chemistry)
2: M.S. Engineering
3. M.S. Other pure science (geology, chemistry, etc).
4. B.S. Engineering
5. B.S. Other pure science

Always aim highest up the chain, also when initially working try to stay as technically focused as possible.  Solid technical skills for the first 1-5 years especially if you can be loaned or transferred across functional groups helps.

Many companies will start new hires as technicians to gauge them.  They are looking for self-starters.  They'll put you to work and ignore you.  If you want to move up you have to standup for yourself and push for it.  If you are willing to sit back and do the work that is given; you will just get bypassed and labeled as task-oriented.  The longer you stay at a lower position early in your career will carry through, and you'll typically top out at a low mid-level.

You meet a lot more people who wish they could go back and smack their 20-something-self stupid then go back and congratulate their 20-something-self.   
[/quote]

I will look into getting both degrees. I think I am more interested in the Geoscience right now.

I have ruled out doing my undergrad in Engineering for a number of reasons.
1. My mind is not geared that way. As an ISFP personality type, any creativity comes through expression of music.
2. I took an aptitude test with Johnson O'Connor. I scored very low in the spacial thinking category. I struggled hard as soon as we got to the part in organic chem where molecule positioning and geometry become relevant. I was doing well with everything else.
3. I would have to redo 2 years of school - starting over.

I know engineering is the best degree option, but I just don't think it's for me. I want to be happy above all else and can't envision myself happy doing that. Maybe I can give it a shot in grad school...

Thanks for the help everyone.

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #47 on: July 07, 2014, 08:52:28 AM »
Alright, here we go again. It's another 2 weeks later. I've decided that I will take Calculus 2 this summer because my internship provides a good amount of time to study in a good study environment.

What I've learned so far in the internship is that technical skills, like the majority of you have mentioned, are critical. As far as I know I am one of the only guys that knows how to use Excel proficiently! I'm able to complete work that much faster. I think a good move would be to take a GIS course next semester and see how I do with it. I'm at a point at which I want to set up my schedule for next semester and I still don't know how to approach the whole degree thing. Here are my questions, some of them I have asked before, and asking again.

1. Is it worthwhile to get a double major in Geoscience and Environmental Geoscience? If I already have work experience in Environment Science, would having that Environment Science degree useful?
2. When dealing with GIS, is it important to have a GIS minor as a credential or is it fine to just "know how to do it". So should I take just a few classes for it, or go for a minor? I'm thinking of doing an intro class for it next semester and seeing how that goes.

You folks are an invaluable resource. Thanks :)

Rika Non

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #48 on: July 07, 2014, 09:35:41 AM »
Cwadda:

Again, a double B.S. really does not help, but a double degree as a MS / BS combination does.  Does your university allow an accelerated program that allows dual enrollment?  That is what I did that allowed me to start the courses for the MS while finishing my BS, total for both degrees was 5.5 years (would have been 5 but for getting my thesis signed off on).

As for hiring, how you present yourself, your internships, and your other activities will help more than specific course work if you are looking to hire with a large company.  The hiring process is geared more towards looking for the types of people than specific skill sets.  The main characteristics self-motivated, personable (teamwork), and trainable.  Smaller companies will look more for specific skills, but for your first job out of university, large corporations with internal training and development programs are the way to go.

As for specific courses go, since you mentioned music and wanting to keep away from engineering.  Have you taken technical writing?  A strong background in technical writing helps in most all STEM jobs.  If you are not a math junkie, that is another way to differentiate yourself. 

Cwadda

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Re: Looking for Environment Scientists and Geologists
« Reply #49 on: July 07, 2014, 09:49:44 AM »
Cwadda:

Again, a double B.S. really does not help, but a double degree as a MS / BS combination does.  Does your university allow an accelerated program that allows dual enrollment?  That is what I did that allowed me to start the courses for the MS while finishing my BS, total for both degrees was 5.5 years (would have been 5 but for getting my thesis signed off on).

As for hiring, how you present yourself, your internships, and your other activities will help more than specific course work if you are looking to hire with a large company.  The hiring process is geared more towards looking for the types of people than specific skill sets.  The main characteristics self-motivated, personable (teamwork), and trainable.  Smaller companies will look more for specific skills, but for your first job out of university, large corporations with internal training and development programs are the way to go.

As for specific courses go, since you mentioned music and wanting to keep away from engineering.  Have you taken technical writing?  A strong background in technical writing helps in most all STEM jobs.  If you are not a math junkie, that is another way to differentiate yourself.

I will look into that ASAP because that idea is very appealing to me. seeing as I'm on par to graduate early anyway.
I have not taken any technical writing yet; the requirements for the major are a capstone course plus any writing level class (even in the 1000 level). So technical writing would be an option.