Becoming a Paleontologist


So you want to be a paleontologist? You are among millions of people who share this same interest. Unfortunately, many lose that interest over time or choose not to pursue a career in this field due to low salaries and limited job opportunities. It's important to understand the basic requirements of becoming a paleontologist as well as the demands of the job. There's a lot more to being a paleontologist than digging up bones. In many ways, paleontology combines several different branches of math and science into one field, proving to be a challenging, yet rewarding career. Many paleontologists work as university professors, with a smaller portion affiliating with museums as researchers. Unlike fields such as medical research, paleontology struggles for funding and support, so few paleontologists ever become rich. Those that wish to become paleontologists do so because of a genuine passion.

A paleontologist typically majors in either Geology or Biology, sometimes having a double major. A foreign language is always good on the resume. The competition for jobs is increasing due to the growing popularity of the field, meaning graduates will face a tough crowd in search of a job. The state of the economy is another factor which could adversely affect one's potential to find work. The average salary for a paleontologist can vary depending on credentials and specific duties within the field. A Master's degree is a typical requirement for a paleontologist, but many obtain a Ph.D. or a doctoral degree. You can begin by working hard in math and science courses while still in junior high or high school. You should try to attend an accredited academic college, but there is no specific university to attend, as personal preference plays a significant role in this decision. Try to contact local museums and find if there are any digs or other research programs which you can attend to gain field experience. Become acquainted with a few paleontologists who can advise you about classes you should take. Hard work and determination are the most important traits of anyone aspiring to be a paleontologist. Although there are many hardships associated with a career in paleontology, many find the thrill of discovery and sense of fulfillment in their job irresistible.

Want more information? Perhaps you should join the Dinosaur Mailing List to receive email communications between experts.
Visit the DML today!