Geologists often begin their careers in field exploration or as research assistants or technicians in laboratories or offices. They are given more difficult assignments as they gain experience. Eventually, they may be promoted to project leader, program manager, or some other management and research position.
A bachelor's degree is adequate for a few entry-level positions, but geologists increasingly need a master's degree in a natural science. A master's degree also is the minimum educational requirement for most entry-level research positions in private industry, Federal agencies, and State geological surveys. A doctoral degree is necessary for most high-level research positions.