Geologists study the compositions, processes, and history of the earth. It is interesting for some, and for some, it is laborious and boring. However, geologists get paid well. It can be a big motivating factor for someone to pursue a geologist degree with little interest in studying earth sciences.
Employment Roles (What geoscientists do)
There are various employment opportunities available after graduating in geology. However, a geoscientist’s job duties are pretty much the same around the globe. As a geoscientist, you would be doing the following.
- Field studies; collecting samples and conducting surveys
- Analyze aerial photographs, well logs, rock samples, and other information collected during fieldwork
- Conduct tests and evaluation
- Prepare written reports
- Make geological maps
- Present the findings to colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders
Geologists can find employment as one of the following.
- Survey Geologist
- Mine Geologist
- Exploration Geologist
- Marine Geologist
- Environmental Geologist
- Geological engineer
- Teachers (High School/university and research)
- Lawyers (in mining firms)
Geologist Job Outlook
There were about 24,900 geoscience jobs in the United States in 2021. The number is expected to grow at 5% over the next decade. The growth rate is in line with other sectors. It is estimated that around 2,400 new positions will open for geologists every year. The new positions will be created due to people retiring, transferring to other occupations, or choosing desk jobs over fieldwork.
Most geologists have to work indoors in offices and laboratories and outdoors in fields, mines, and mountains. Outdoor research and investigation are usually called fieldwork and often require irregular hours and extensive travel to remote locations and other countries. People who pursue teaching after becoming geologists usually work indoors unless they have to take their students for some research.
The geoscience field can be extremely lucrative, with an average annual salary of $83,680 per year and $40.23 per hour. A six-figure annual salary in this field is not a big deal. There are a lot of variations depending on the nature of your job, education, and experience.
Many geologists work overseas. Foreign employees are often paid more because the host company fails to find local resources to fulfill a particular role.
Here is a list of some US states and how much geologists can earn.
|State||Total Employment||Bottom 25%||Median Salary||Top 75%|
How to Become a Geologist
You can become a geologist after earning a 4-year degree in geology from a university. Some positions require a master’s degree. You can enroll in a university after completing high school. Some people do a Ph.D. to become a professor.
A geology degree includes mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, rock sciences, and other core geology courses. Most geology programs require students to study mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology courses. Communication, critical thinking, report writing, and presentation skills courses are also important for geology students.
Another aspect of becoming a geologist is licensing. Geologists are licensed in 31 states. Although most cases do not require licensing, geologists working in public sectors often require certification. These activities include civil engineering projects, environmental protection, and regulatory compliance.
There are some minimum experience and education standards to get a geologist license. All states that license geologists use the Fundamentals of Geology Exam (FGE) conducted by the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG).