Geology is the study of the physical mechanisms and materials of the Earth's crust, and includes studies on the micro and macro levels. Geologist and study things as diverse as the composition of a particular type of rock, or the structure of an entire continent.
Geology is a specific academic field of study, and like many of the other physical sciences has a series of pre-requisites in terms of pre-tertiary qualifications and studies in high school. The academic streams of geology at quite straightforward for basic qualifications, but may include a vast range of additional studies at postgraduate levels and for professional purposes.
One of the reasons for these extra areas of study is because geology includes a very wide range of specific commercial, scientific and academic professional applications. For example, a geologist specializing in a particular area of industry needs a very strong knowledge base related to that industry. Mining is a classic example of one of the most important applications of geology. Geologists working in this field must have the ability to interpret and use mining data related to geomorphologies and mineral content assays which affect billions of dollars worth of investment.
Career progression in geology typically follows the fundamental scientific paths of commercial, academic and research. Geology, however, is a very complex science and because employment in this field relates directly to various areas of specialization, geologists tend to direct their career efforts into areas of preference.
There is some level of overlap in the three fundamental areas of geology, though. A specialist mineralogist, for example, could easily work in the academic and research fields as both a trainer and a researcher in a specific area of geology. Unlike many other sciences, the area of career specialization in geology is not necessarily exclusive of those roles, chiefly because the knowledge base in geology is gigantic and the academic and research streams encompass these specializations.
Expansion of the mining industry, new technologies and new molecular science has developed the role of geologists enormously. Geologists are at the forefront of many types of resources exploration, research and development. Environmental sciences also added new ecological roles to the work of geologists, including research into the Earth's history, climate and major hazards like earthquakes, volcanoes, acid soils and marine resources. This is a truly fascinating science, and as a career covers a unique range of subjects and areas of study.