With oil approaching $110 a barrel and gold skyrocketing, a career that has come back in focus is that of a Geologist. The National Association of State Boards of Geology develops standardized tests for states to test Geologist for high level certification, they do not register Geologist per se. The test is known in the industry as the ASBOG exam.
Each state has different rules for qualification and some states do not even have a license. You will need to check with your target state to determine the process for getting the license. The test is generally given twice per year in the spring and fall. Fees and scheduled dates are different for each state, so make sure you look up your states requirements so you do not miss key dates.
The test has two parts: The Fundamentals of Geology(FG) containing 140 questions(4 hours) and The Practice of Geology(PG) containing 110 questions(4 hours). There are many study guides online that are excellent resources for taking practice exams and understanding the full scope of the test. It is often difficult to study for a large standardized test with just your textbooks. A good study guide will drill down to the most important topics covered on the exam and allow you to maximize your study time on the ASBOG.
Passing the ASBOG exam, will differentiate you and highlight your overall knowledge to potential employers in the fields of environmental science, mining, and oil & gas exploration.
I believe the field of Geology offers phenomenal long- term upside since there are major macro trends driving commodity prices higher. Commodities are an excellent hedge to a falling US dollar and it seems both political parties are having trouble keeping our debt under control. We are near a tipping point in this country, unfortunately, and we could see massive inflation in the years to come.
Mining & Oil/Gas exploration will be a great places to be if this occurs. They also have great supply and demand characteristics that will lead to higher prices in the future, as well. High commodity prices mean higher profits thus giving greater job security for a geologist.
Geology also can take you across the globe to exciting destinations often in remote areas with beautiful scenery. I can’t think of many careers that offer as much upside and long term potential. The industry was decimated for years when commodity prices were low and there is now a huge demand for geologists.
Pass the ASBOG and you will be on your way to a long and prosperous career!