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In order to become a mineralogist, you typically need to acquire an advanced degree in the field of mineralogy. Alternatively, you can become a mineralogist as a hobby, but a degree is required to work in the field. Once you have completed your basic education and secured appropriate qualifications, getting a job as a mineralogist is relatively straightforward, although not always easy. Working in this field typically involves research and teaching, and obtaining these positions can take time.
The first step required to become a mineralogist is to obtain the appropriate qualifications needed to work in this field. Many people who get a bachelor's degrees in mineralogy are actually getting degrees in geology but focus on the study of minerals. At higher levels, it is more common to see specific mineralogy degrees. Schools that offer these programs are numerous, but given the physical nature of mineralogy, it is generally considered ill advised to obtain this type of degree online. Some schools are more prestigious than others, but the initiative of the student and the projects undertaken are important as well.
While education is important, experience is essential. Part of many mineralogy programs involves conducting research and getting experience in the field. When attempting to become a mineralogist, it is a very good idea to look for internships and other valuable learning experiences in order to increase the chances of finding a job after getting a degree. Students who are truly fascinated with minerals and who are extremely devoted to this science are more likely to be successful than those who simply attend classes.
Once a degree has been obtained, finding work can still be a challenge when trying to become a mineralogist. Most people with degrees in mineralogy wish to work specifically with minerals and may therefore seek out teaching and research positions. Some people work with the government or private companies researching the practical uses of minerals, while others focus on looking deep into the past through minerals. It is also possible to make a living as a mineralogist teaching at levels below college. Mineralogists might work in museums or with children, as many young people are interested in this subject.
Depending on the path chosen, becoming a mineralogist can take a number of years. While the best jobs often require the highest qualifications, it is possible to work with minerals without these qualifications. Assisting professionals, working in museums and even volunteering can all provide valuable experiences that can lead to more prestigious jobs. Although it is usually best to complete your education, some people manage to succeed along different paths.
@Soulfox -- Good example and it is good to see something that suggests that mineralogists don't have to find a job teaching to make a living.
They are needed in coal exploration, too, and how about research and development for natural gas? Mineralogists were needed to help figure out how to pull natural gas out of bedrock, after all.
One thing fascinating about this career is how flexible it truly is. Most people think of mineralogists as folks who teach in colleges and essentially create more mineralogists who will go out and teach. The practical sides of the career are not explored often enough.
And, yes, there are some practical jobs for mineralogists. Let's say you have an area that is blessed with a lot of bauxite. A mineralogist might be called in to test it and see if it is suitable for use in making aluminum. That mineralogist may keep his job with an aluminum plant in the area as he will be called on to test new veins of bauxite.
That's just one example of how a mineralogist can find private employment, but there are a lot of others.
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