Mapping Your Future logo

Career Profile: Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers

Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, minerals, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the Earth's internal composition, atmospheres, and oceans, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, paleontologists, stratigraphers, geodesists, and seismologists.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 29,000 people employed as geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers in the United States. The median annual salary is $93,600. Entry level employees earn approximately $51,890 per year and senior employees earn approximately $201,150 (or more) per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Plan or conduct geological, geochemical, or geophysical field studies or surveys, sample collection, or drilling and testing programs used to collect data for research or application.
  • Analyze and interpret geological data, using computer software.
  • Investigate the composition, structure, or history of the Earth's crust through the collection, examination, measurement, or classification of soils, minerals, rocks, or fossil remains.
  • Analyze and interpret geological, geochemical, or geophysical information from sources, such as survey data, well logs, bore holes, or aerial photos.
  • Identify risks for natural disasters, such as mudslides, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions.
  • Prepare geological maps, cross-sectional diagrams, charts, or reports concerning mineral extraction, land use, or resource management, using results of fieldwork or laboratory research.
  • Communicate geological findings by writing research papers, participating in conferences, or teaching geological science at universities.
  • Locate and estimate probable natural gas, oil, or mineral ore deposits or underground water resources, using aerial photographs, charts, or research or survey results.
  • Advise construction firms or government agencies on dam or road construction, foundation design, land use, or resource management.
  • Measure characteristics of the Earth, such as gravity or magnetic fields, using equipment such as seismographs, gravimeters, torsion balances, or magnetometers.
  • Locate and review research articles or environmental, historical, or technical reports.
  • Conduct geological or geophysical studies to provide information for use in regional development, site selection, or development of public works projects.
  • Review environmental, historical, or technical reports and publications for accuracy.
  • Assess ground or surface water movement to provide advice on issues, such as waste management, route and site selection, or the restoration of contaminated sites.
  • Research ways to reduce the ecological footprint of increasingly prevalent megacities.
  • Collaborate with medical or health researchers to address health problems related to geological materials or processes.
  • Determine ways to mitigate the negative consequences of mineral dust dispersion.
  • Identify possible sites for carbon sequestration projects.
  • Develop ways to capture or use gases burned off as waste during oil production processes.
  • Inspect construction projects to analyze engineering problems, using test equipment or drilling machinery.
  • Provide advice on the safe siting of new nuclear reactor projects or methods of nuclear waste management.
  • Design geological mine maps, monitor mine structural integrity, or advise and monitor mining crews.
  • Review work plans to determine the effectiveness of activities for mitigating soil or groundwater contamination.
  • Test industrial diamonds or abrasives, soil, or rocks to determine their geological characteristics, using optical, x-ray, heat, acid, or precision instruments.
  • Study historical climate change indicators found in locations, such as ice sheets or rock formations to develop climate change models.
  • Develop strategies for more environmentally friendly resource extraction and reclamation.
  • Identify deposits of construction materials suitable for use as concrete aggregates, road fill, or other applications.
  • Identify new sources of platinum group elements for industrial applications, such as automotive fuel cells or pollution abatement systems.
  • Locate potential sources of geothermal energy.
  • Research geomechanical or geochemical processes to be used in carbon sequestration projects.
  • Develop applied software for the analysis and interpretation of geological data.
  • Determine methods to incorporate geomethane or methane hydrates into global energy production or evaluate the potential environmental impacts of such incorporation.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
29,000
Annual Openings:
3,100
Increase in Openings by 2030:
7%
Annual Salary Range:
$51,890 - $201,150
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree