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Environment

Seismologist

Seismologists study shock waves created by earthquakes and volcanic activity. They also work in oil, gas and minerals exploration.

Annual Salary

£15,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 42 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Seismologist jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • monitoring and analysing data from seismic sensors around the world
  • mapping seismic regions and fault lines in the Earth's surface
  • developing early warning systems for earthquake zones
  • investigating target sites for new seismic stations
  • searching for oil and gas deposits under land and sea
  • producing survey reports for mining and energy companies
  • attending conferences and publishing research findings
  • taking students on field trips to study earthquake and volcano hot spots
  • teaching

Working environment

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

You could work at a research facility, at a university or in a laboratory.

Your working environment may be physically active and you may spend nights away from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role
University

You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in:

  • geology
  • geography
  • Earth science
  • geophysics
  • environmental science
  • computer science

Many employers will expect you to have, or be working towards, a PhD in a relevant subject.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including a science, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Work

You could start as a PhD research assistant, for example in a university Earth sciences or geophysics engineering department. With further training and experience you could become a seismologist.

More information

Further information

You can discover more about working in seismology from The Geological Society and the British Geological Survey.

You could become a project co-ordinator or manager with a seismic research organisation, university or energy company.

In a university post, once you've got experience and published original research, you could become a senior research fellow or professor.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of geography
  • science skills
  • maths knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • excellent written communication skills
  • knowledge of physics
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
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