Consolidation analysts collect clay and soil samples for testing.
Clay consolidation analysts are geoscientists who apply their understanding of the physical earth to understand clay consolidation, the process by which clays decrease in volume as they lose water content. Becoming a geoscientist or geologist specializing in consolidation of clays and soils requires a combination of education, research abilities, computer skills and in some cases, a license.
A career as a clay consolidation analyst or other geoscientist requires the minimum of a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a geosciences field such as geology, mineralogy or soil science. Many jobs may require a master’s degree or higher. Most colleges and universities across the United States offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in geology and other geosciences. A bachelor’s degree requires about four years of full-time study, while a master’s degree may require two additional years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree. Some high-level research jobs may require a doctoral degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Students who study geosciences take courses in geology, paleontology, mineralogy, hydrology and other sciences, such as physics, chemistry and mathematics.
Clay consolidation analysts and other geoscientists use a variety of computer applications, including digital mapping and data analysis software, as a part of their work. The BLS reported that consolidation analysts should be skilled in statistical analysis methods, as well as Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, programs.
Consolidation studies often require extensive field work, by which geoscientists collect clay samples for analysis, then spend many hours in geoscientific laboratories testing these samples. A clay consolidation analyst should have excellent critical thinking and observation skills, as well as attention to detail. In addition, consolidation specialists need strong interpersonal skills, because they often work as part of research teams that include other scientists and researchers, including technicians, engineers and environmental scientists, according to the BLS.
Many states require geoscientists, including clay consolidation analysts, who offer their services to the public, to hold a license issued by a state regulatory board. Specific licensing standards vary across states, but generally consist of education and experience requirements, plus a passing score on a state licensing examination.