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The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.

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Job Zone

Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skills, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, several years of full or part-time employment in the area may suffice.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship or training program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€32k > 90
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€32 - 90
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

While the supply of graduates appears to be sufficient to meet the annual recruitment requirement (5,500 graduates in 2017), the demand is arising for roles for those with a high level of experience and/or in niche areas. The demand is for a small number of people given the relatively small size of this occupation (approx. 1% of total employment) and in the areas associated with pharmaceuticals, biopharma and food development.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Occupational Category


Also included in this category:

Analytical chemists; industrial chemists; biomedical scientists; forensic scientists; microbiologists; geologists; medical physicists; meteorologists.

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 6%
Male / Female: 60 / 40%
Non-Nationals: 21%
With Third Level: 95%
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At a Glance... header image

Geoscientists are primarily involved with the exploration and production of natural resources. Their research requires detailed research into the composition, structure and other physical aspects of the earth.

Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records:1

David O'Sullivan
Marine Biologist and Geoscientist

David O'Sullivan is a Marine Biologist and Geoscientist. Part of his job is to create maps of the ocean to explore the sea floor in order to learn more about our marine ecosystems and implement conservation plans to protect our ocean. 

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The Work header image

Geophysicists study the physical structure of the Earth. They find out about the Earth's origins and development by analysing fossils, sediments and previously molten rock, for example.  
Geophysicists understand how resources like oil, coal, gas and uranium are formed, and where they are likely to be found. They travel to areas where they think resources are, and take rock, soil and other samples to confirm their predictions. They control data quality and compile charts and reports.  
In oil exploration, geophysicists must be very confident that the right area has been found before drilling begins. They need to know what type of structure is being drilled, and how stable it is. This information may be obtained by taking rock samples, or drilling boreholes into sea and rock beds. Most oil companies have research laboratories, where new discovery techniques are developed.  
Other geophysicists find and manage water beneath the Earth's surface. This work is especially important in very hot countries, where water may exist mostly below ground. At the other extreme, geophysicists study and observe glaciers, tracing their origins and noting how they are affected by global climate change.  
Some geophysicists monitor the behaviour of earthquakes and volcanoes. They study fault lines, caused by the movement of the Earth's rock plates, to predict earthquakes. They may be able to predict volcanic eruptions by studying the distribution of ash and lava deposits. Exploration geophysicists must know if an area they are working in is prone to earthquakes, and what effects an earthquake might have on the rocks, soil, water and building materials they are working with.  
In seismic surveying, equipment is used to simulate vibrations from earthquakes. Vibrations are sent into the ground or sea, and the energy they produce eventually returns to the surface. Geophysicists are able to identify the type and shape of rocks and deposits beneath the surface by the different effects they have on the path of the energy. Geophysicists may advise on environmental issues, for example, the suitability of a proposed landfill site, methods to stop polluted water leaking from old mines, and the prevention of landslides.  
Some geophysicists work as researchers or teachers in universities.

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Analyze and interpret geological, geochemical, or geophysical information from sources such as survey data, well logs, bore holes, or aerial photos.


Plan or conduct geological, geochemical, or geophysical field studies or surveys, sample collection, or drilling and testing programs used to collect data for research or application.


Prepare geological maps, cross-sectional diagrams, charts, or reports concerning mineral extraction, land use, or resource management, using results of fieldwork or laboratory research.


Analyze and interpret geological data, using computer software.


Investigate the composition, structure, or history of the Earth's crust through the collection, examination, measurement, or classification of soils, minerals, rocks, or fossil remains.


Assess ground or surface water movement to provide advice regarding issues such as waste management, route and site selection, or the restoration of contaminated sites.


Locate and estimate probable natural gas, oil, or mineral ore deposits or underground water resources, using aerial photographs, charts, or research or survey results.


Locate and review research articles or environmental, historical, or technical reports.


Communicate geological findings by writing research papers, participating in conferences, or teaching geological science at universities.


Measure characteristics of the Earth, such as gravity or magnetic fields, using equipment such as seismographs, gravimeters, torsion balances, or magnetometers.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others: Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Provide Consultation and Advice to Others: Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Physics: Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.


Geography: Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.


Chemistry: Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.


Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.


Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a geophysicist, you must be able to work in a team, and in independent research and exploration. You may be working on your own for long periods, for example, when mapping areas. You will need to be able to draw and read maps, displays and charts, and use computers to process data. You may also use a computer to produce three-dimensional models of geophysical features.  
You must be able to express your ideas and findings clearly, both verbally and in writing, possibly in reports. An awareness of environmental issues may be an advantage.  
You must be physically fit, especially if you work in remote areas of the world with difficult terrain. Patience and a willingness to travel are desirable traits.

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Geophysicist - from: Institute of Physics in Ireland
Go..Geoscientist - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Geoscientist - from: GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Geophysical Association of Ireland
Address: Unit F4, Maynooth Business Campus, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Geological Survey of Ireland
Address: Beggars Bush, Haddington Rd., Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 678 2000 / LoCall 1890 4499 00
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Tyndall National Institute
Address: Lee Maltings Complex, Dyke Parade, Cork City, Ireland
Tel: 021 4904177
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Articles

A day in the life of a Geophysicist
A day in the life of an Onboard Geophysicist

Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Earth & Environment

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