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Can a Felon Become a Geologist?

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There are resources available for felons looking for a job after their release. Often it takes learning a new trade or starting a different career to demonstrate that felons make good employees.

For those with experience in rock formations and natural processes, geology is a possibility. This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become a geologist.

  • What is a Geologist?
  • What is Required to Become a Geologist?
  • How Much Does a Geologist Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action


What is a Geologist?

Geology is one of the oldest of the earth sciences. A geologist studies rocks, rock formations, and physical attributes of the earth. He or she also examines the composition and structure of rocks, including processes that led to their formation.

Among the duties of a geologist are:

  • Collecting and analyzing rock samples
  • Classifying rocks and minerals
  • Collecting and analyzing soil samples
  • Conducting field studies
  • Preparing geological maps

There are several areas in which a geologist works:

  • Exploration. Explores sites for coal, or, minerals, and stones.
  • Geo engineer. Involved in environmental issues, especially water supply development.
  • Geotechnical. Concerned with the structure of soils and rocks for construction projects.

Other areas of specialty include:

  • Geochemistry
  • Geophysics
  • Hydrology
  • Marine geology

There are many skills necessary to be successful as a geologist:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Physical stamina
  • Problem solving
  • Report writing
  • Map making

What is Required to Become a Geologist?

Typically, a bachelor’s degree is required to work as a geologist. Fortunately, most colleges offer a degree in geology.

A geology program includes courses in:

  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology
  • Structural geology
  • Physical sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering
  • Computer science

A license is required to become a geologist when the work directly impacts public safety. A license protects the public from unqualified and unethical practices, and establishes a degree of legal accountability for the work. Requirements for licensing differ from one state to another.

A professional license is required to become a geologist in 29 states. Licensure is covered through the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG). Licensing is a quality-control process allowing the state to limit areas of professional practices to those who have demonstrated the qualifications to carry out that practice, and it helps prevent incompetent or unethical practices from occurring.

An entry-level position in geology does not require a license. If the work of a geologist is within a company, a license is usually not required. Often, the work of a geologist in which a license is necessary is related to civil engineering as it often involves geographic hazards in engineering structures and land development.

How Much Does a Geologist Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 24,900 practicing geologists. The median annual wage for a geologist in 2021 was $83,680. The median income is the amount at which half of geologists earned more and half earned less.

Level of experience and specialty certifications will affect how much a geologist earns. Location is also important with those working in the South and along the East or West coast having a higher salary than a geologist in other parts of the country.

This area is expected to show a 5% job growth from 2016 to 2026, which is average.

An Opportunity for Felons?

A felon can pursue any degree he or she wants. Approximately 60% of colleges consider criminal history in their admissions process, although there is no standard policy regarding a background check. Any felon that wants to get a degree to become a geologist can find a college that will accept him or her.

A background check is typically done on those seeking a license as a geologist to ensure public welfare. Usually, this background check involves fingerprinting. All criminal convictions as well as cases in which someone pled guilty or no contest must be revealed, even if they were dismissed or expunged.

If there’s any doubt regarding the report of a prior conviction, it’s best to disclose the conviction. It can present much more serious consequences legally if it’s found later. Failure to disclose a conviction is a violation of the law and can lead to legal disciplinary action beyond denial of a license.

An applicant must report and provide certified copies of court records for any legal complaint, complete docket, judgment, sentence, and probation report for all convictions. Any arrest which did not result in a conviction doesn’t have to be disclosed.

Convictions that aren’t related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a geologist must still be revealed as information related to the crime may indicate its relevance to the practice of geology.

An applicant will be given the opportunity to explain any criminal conviction in writing along with evidence of rehabilitation such as counseling, employment, or completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program.

There are re-entry programs, such as drug treatment, and educational opportunities for felons who need them. For many felons, having their felony expunged can give them the chance they need to begin with a clear record and succeed in becoming a geologist.

Recommended Action

It’s a significant challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon that wants to become a geologist. Having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs or additional education could make the essential difference in a felon succeeding.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest, productive life no matter how challenging it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a geologist with a felony? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.

1 thought on “Can a Felon Become a Geologist?”

  1. It all depends on what company you want to work for. Some might let you pass if you have a expungement or pardon. In my case, I live in the Southwest Region of the country they don;t care if you are holier than the Pope or have been dominated by the Pope of Rome for Sainthood you are still a criminal untrust worthy and dangerous. You are considered the bottom of the barrel in society. Stay away from the South or Southwest.


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