Lots of people who are keen on research about plants and animals lifeillions of years ago gets to find out that to become a paleontologist is not as easy as it may seem as lots of work and years of education is required.
Besides, anyone looking to become a paleontologist must bear in mind certain courses and programs to minor and major in and the necessary skills needed to excel in the field.
However, most students who wants to become paleontologist do not possess the right knowledge and information on what to do and how to go about becoming a paleontologist.
Hence, in this copy, you will learn who a paleontologist is, what they do, and how long it takes to become one. You will also learn a step by step guide on how to become a paleontologist and the needed skills to thrive.
Who Is A Paleontologist?
A paleontologist is a scientist who investigates the past of the planet and how evolution has impacted life by looking at fossils and other historical evidence. In order to draw conclusions regarding the evolution of life and the history of our planet, these experts may discover and preserve animal and plant evidence, fossilize bones, and gather other information. In order to find fossils or gather samples for laboratory research, they frequently spend their time at job sites.
A paleontologist may frequently carry out the following duties:
- Find out where the fossils are.
- To find fossils, conduct excavations.
- Learn about the fossils that have been discovered through excavations and dogs.
- Analyze discoveries made by sophisticated computer programs.
- Analyze the relationship between new and past data.
- Perform a variety of duties in a lab environment linked to examining fossils and other related discoveries.
- Identify the era from which fossils date.
- Share discoveries with coworkers and others in the scientific community.
What Do Paleontologists Do?
In order to find fossils or gather samples, paleontologists organize, supervise, and carry out fieldwork projects. Along with taking core samples from lakes, dirt, or ice sheets, they collect fossils and take pictures of the work site. The specimens must then be preserved and made ready for transportation to the facility where they will be cleaned and examined. Some people operate in labs where they examine old pollen and petrified samples using chemical procedures. In addition to presenting to their peers at trade shows, researchers communicate their work through publishing journal papers in scholarly publications. To finance their research, the majority must submit grant applications. Many professors at colleges and universities also carry out research and teach.
Most paleontologists focus on a single area of study. For instance, micro paleontologists research tiny fossils. Algae and fungi are among the fossil plants studied by paleobotanists. Palynologists research spores and pollen. Mollusks, worms, and other invertebrate species’ fossils are studied by invertebrate paleontologists. Fish fossils are of particular interest to vertebrate paleontologists, who study these remains. Paleoanthropologists and human paleontologists study the fossils of ancient humans and hominids. The formation of fossils is studied by taphonomists. Ichnologists look for fossil footprints, trails, and tracks, like the dinosaur footprints discovered in Arkansas in 2011. To learn more about ancient ecologies and climates, paleontologists employ fossils, spores, pollen, and other data.
In order to prevent future occurrences, the revelations they make can aid in our understanding of the past. Additionally, they can serve as a framework for comparing the biodiversity and environmental conditions of our current world to those of earlier, more chaotic eras.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Paleontologist?
Your educational path will determine how long it takes you to become a paleontologist. It will take you between 6 and 8 years to become a paleontologist because the majority of jobs in this industry demand experts to have a master’s or doctoral degree. It goes without saying that you must first earn a bachelor’s degree before you can pursue either of these degrees.
Also, You can begin your studies in this profession by enrolling in one of the undergraduate paleontology programs offered in the US. You will need four years to finish a bachelor’s degree. After earning your bachelor’s degree, you can pursue a master’s or doctoral degree.
In comparison to a Ph.D., a master’s degree can be earned in two years. You will be able to select the degree that best suits your interests and career objectives. You should keep in mind that you will also need to devote some time to gaining experience at a job.
How To Become A Paleontologist: Step-by-step Guide
Becoming a paleontologist have some educational requirements, hence You should enroll in science as a subject in your graduate program in addition to having a strong foundation in math and physics. You would have to pick a reputable college that offers the appropriate courses in the area. The path on how to become a palaeontologist of the highest caliber is described below in detail.
- Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
- Earn a Master’s Degree
- Opt for a Doctorate Course
- Join Internship Programs
#1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Getting the right degree is necessary to work as a palaeontologist. Applying for a bachelor’s degree in geology or biology is where you should start. Also allowed are the majority of the main scientific fields. The Paleontologist, however, has a primary emphasis on geology, biology, geography, and environmental sciences. To understand the principles of geology and biology, it is crucial to have a solid knowledge and background in science. An undergraduate degree in both geology and biology is typically required of paleontologists. Making a major out of one subject and minoring in the other is an additional option.
Although, it typically takes about 4 years to complete a bachelor, however, you can learn How To Get A Bachelor Degree In 12 Months / 1 Year Bachelor Degree to save time and resources.
#2. Earn a Master’s Degree
You must enroll in a course that specifically emphasizes paleontology and its connected areas, such as integrative biology, planetary sciences, and geography as well, in order to earn a master’s degree in paleontology. Although many institutions and colleges do not particularly have a paleontology department of their own, in such a scenario you must enroll in courses covering numerous sciences in order to earn your degree. These degrees include coursework in structural geology, mineral sciences, evolutionary paleo-biology, and vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology.
Your chances of obtaining a doctoral degree and improving your research abilities can increase with a postgraduate degree.
#3. Opt for a Doctorate Course
Here are a few of the most well-liked paleontology courses with a research focus.
- Doctor of Philosophy in Biology – Bioinformatics, Systematics and Evolution
- Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology and Evolution
- Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Health: Biostatistics
- Doctor of Philosophy in Mineral Deposits and Precambrian Geology
- PhD in Evolutionary Biology
- Geology PhD/MPhil – Palaeobiology, Palaeoenvironments and Palaeoclimates
Obtaining complete knowledge of the prerequisites to enter the degree program is one of the most important tasks before applying to a Paleontology program.
- You must have a science background in physics, chemistry, and biology in order to apply for a Paleontology bachelor’s degree.
- For the most part, if you’re looking for a PhD in paleontology, you must have a postgraduate degree in geology or other earth science.
- You must take an English language test, such as the IELTS or TOEFL, if you are applying to schools abroad.
#4. Join Internship Programs
You can enroll in mentoring and training programs to get ready for a career in paleontology. Stipends are frequently provided during these programs so that you can easily satisfy your professional obligations. You can also get to know industry professionals and learn from them. In a museum, you can work as an intern to help with object curation and research.
You can also look into possibilities to help a researcher with their research, including helping them with experiments and analyses. You’ll be able to do this to obtain practical experience that will improve your employment prospects.
What Skills Are Needed To Be A Paleontologist?
The most valuable skills needed by paleontologists are the following:
When analyzing their unearthed materials and developing or confirming educated ideas, paleontologists apply their problem-solving and analytical skills. When conducting research to pinpoint potential dig sites and organic artifact locations, they might also need to exercise critical thinking skills.
To read, evaluate, and discuss previously published literature, these experts need to have a high degree of reading comprehension. To comprehend how their discoveries affect overall paleontological knowledge and perspectives on the history of life on Earth, they also use research techniques like data analysis and tools like historical narratives.
Paleontologists may hold executive positions, such as those of instructors, researchers, and field excavators. They frequently design a project plan and assign assignments using their goal-setting and communication abilities. They might also use their organizational abilities to make sure that every work is completed and that the project is feasible given the available resources.
When conducting testing, reviewing organic relics, and going on digs, these professionals are likely to use the most recent technological equipment. To produce reports, arrange data, and make an interesting summary of their results to show to other paleontologists, interested parties, students, or other parties, they also employ computer tools, such as word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software.
Besides, to fully maximize your skill and expertise in technological equipment, you may need to acquire the Best Tech Gadgets For College Students as it would help prepare you for field works.
Paleontologists’ pay is frequently influenced by their amount of education and years of experience. Since paleontologists can work for a wide range of businesses, such as gas and oil firms, educational institutions, and museums, the nature of their employment and the financing provided by their employer may also have an effect on their pay.
Although salary information for paleontologists has not been compiled, there may be a range of projected wages based on the following similar positions.
- Curator: $52,452 per year
- Professor: $63,969 per year
- Researcher: $84,966 per year
- Salaries range from $14,000 to $241,000 per year
In order to become a paleontologist, one must have a solid educational foundation in the natural sciences, such as a Bachelor’s degree in Biology or Geology which are mostly the requirements.
A fantastic method to acquire the necessary background knowledge is to major in one of these fields and minor in the other. Of course, obtaining a double major is great. It is advised to pursue statistical analysis and computer skills throughout the undergraduate years as these are also required.
A graduate degree is necessary to work as a paleontologist. Paleontology graduate or doctoral degrees are required of students. A combined Master’s and PhD program is provided by some graduate schools. Field-based research in both contemporary and historical contexts is a major focus of all graduate programs.
FAQs On How To Become A Paleontologist
A master’s or doctorate degree is required to become a paleontologist, and you should major in geology or biology. You should also take geography and environmental studies. A master’s degree can be obtained in two years after graduating from college in four. That’s at least six years.
A legitimate degree is required to work as a palaeontologist. Applying for a bachelor’s degree in geology or biology can be your first step. Most of the important scientific disciplines are also allowed.
Most paleontologists have a master’s degree or higher. A degree in geology may be sufficient for this career choice, while some universities may offer master’s degrees in paleontology. Particularly if they want to teach at a university or in a position of leadership, many paleontologists also pursue a PhD in the field.
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