A geophysicist is a scientist who uses physical principles to study properties of the Earth. The branches of science that are fundamental to being a good geophysicist include physics, chemistry, and mathematics.
The most important step to being a geophysicist is to love science. Without a love for science one can never become a good scientist. New information is constantly coming to light, and therefore, an appreciation for science is of utmost importance.
One should take as much science as possible during high school, specifically physics, chemistry, earth science, and mathematics. Once the easier classes are out of the way the harder and more interesting classes can be taken in college. Also during high school, one should research which college institutions offer degrees in geophysics. It is possible to get two degrees in geology and physics, but a degree in geophysics is more preferred and suggested.
While in college, it is imperative to become fluent and comfortable with computers. Lots of time as a geophysicist is spent modeling, performing digital mapping, and performing data analysis. You must be comfortable with numbers and data.
It is possible to have just a collegiate degree and be a geophysicist. However, further schooling cannot hurt. The best way to advance your career and specialize in certain areas is to get either a Masters degree or Ph.D. You will have an easier time if you have a physics degree than if you have a geology degree. That is because of the intense mathematics that comes with graduate school. However, a degree in geophysics is the best and will leave the individual making the smoothest transition to graduate school, and thus, having the easiest time.
During college and graduate school, internships are a great way to learn what areas are of interest to you and what the best course of action is to get you to your dreams. Explore every area to find out what drives you and what you love.
Once you have what you consider the proper schooling, it is time to look for a job. Some places that hire geophysicists include the government and gas companies. In addition to the government and gas companies, one can always teach. While teaching, one can perform research for the school and act as a consultant on the side.
The career of a geophysicist is challenging, but extremely rewarding and always exciting.