Education and Training Requirements

High School

Because you will need a college degree in order to find work in this profession, you should take a college preparatory curriculum while in high school. Such a curriculum will include computer science, history, and English classes. Science and math classes are also important to take, particularly earth science, chemistry, and physics. Math classes should include algebra, trigonometry, and statistics.

Postsecondary Education

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for entry into lower-level geology jobs, but a master’s degree is usually necessary for beginning positions in research, teaching, and exploration. Since the field of astrogeology is so small, many astrogeologists have doctorate degrees in order to increase their knowledge and improve their chances of landing top research jobs. Additionally, for those wishing to teach at the college level, a doctoral degree is required. Those interested in the geological profession should have an aptitude not only for geology but also for physics, chemistry, and mathematics.

A number of colleges, universities, and institutions of technology offer degrees in geology. Programs in geophysical technology, geophysical engineering, geophysical prospecting, and engineering geology also offer related training for beginning geologists.

Students who go on to graduate school will take advanced courses in astrogeology. A few colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in the planetary sciences. These include Brown University (, California Institute of Technology (, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (, University of Arizona (, and Washington University in St. Louis (

Other Education or Training

Conference sessions, online courses, and other continuing education opportunities for geologists are provided by the American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Professional Geologists, Association for Women Geoscientists, Geological Society of America, and the Society for Sedimentary Geology. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no specialized certifications available for astrogeologists. The American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) grants the certified professional geologist (CPG) designation to general geologists who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher in the geological sciences and have eight years of professional experience (applicants with a master’s degree need only seven years of professional experience and those with a Ph.D., five years). Candidates must also undergo peer review by three professional geologists (two of whom must be CPGs) and pay an application fee.

The institute also offers the member designation to geologists who are registered in various states and are not seeking AIPG certification. Applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in the geological sciences with at least 36 semester hours of geology, be licensed by the state they wish to work in, undergo peer review, and pay an application fee. A student adjunct certification is also available to those who are majoring in the geological sciences.

Again, there are no specialized licensing requirements for astrogeologists. More than 30 states require Earth-focused geologists to be registered or licensed. Most of these states require applicants (who have earned a bachelor’s degree in the geological sciences) to pass the Fundamentals of Geology exam, a standardized written exam developed by the National Association of State Boards of Geology. They can also go on to take the Practice of Geology exam.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring astrogeologists should obtain as much experience as possible in geology, mathematics, and physics via classes, internships, and volunteer opportunities.

To be a successful astrogeologist, you should love geology and space science. You should have a good imagination, be creative, have strong computer skills, and be in good physical shape in order to conduct fieldwork. You should also have excellent communication skills in order to work well as part of a team and tell people about your findings. Physical stamina is needed for those involved in fieldwork. You should also be willing to travel to and stay in remote areas of the Earth in order to conduct research.