Careers and internships in Geology

Study of the geological sciences provides one with helpful tools and skills for whatever directions one takes in life. Recent geology majors are currently in careers as diverse as health maintenance organization administration, investment banking (emphasis on technology industries), and various careers in education. Some have opted for medical school, others are raising families, all share a common understanding of how humans and society interact with the Earth.

Three main areas many geology majors go into are the earth sciences, geologic exploration and development, and academia/teaching and we have compiled advise and resources for each of those areas. 

  • Internships funding: Mount Holyoke's Lynk Universal Application Funding (UAF) initiative offers internship funding for one domestic or international internship to every student that has secured a qualified summer internship or research position.

Helpful Advising

Define your goals and develop search strategies. Career Advisors at the Career Development Center (CDC) are here to help you develop strategies to find jobs and internships, improve your resume and cover letters, and access resources.

  • Explore possibilities with your faculty advisor. Your professors can also help you with advice on career questions in their field of expertise.
  • Students and alumnae who studied this major or are working in the industry can provide valuable guidance when considering career options, including internships, jobs, and graduate school. Use the MHC Intern Network to connect with MHC students and recent alumnae who have held internships. Search by major, location, position, or employer.
  • Learn how to conduct informational interviews with people working in the field and find alumnae through the Alumnae Association Career Directory. They can provide valuable guidance when considering career options, including internships, jobs and graduate school.

Resources

  • What Can I Do With A Geology Major?: A lot of ideas for careers in the Geosciences.
  • American Geological Institute: Go to the Geoscience Careers page for links to excellent career resources in numerous fields: the petroleum and mining industry, environmental consulting, and federal government. Be sure to check out their Careers that Change the World brochure
  • United States Geological Survey: Browse the USGS Jobs page for Student Employment, volunteer opportunities, and internships.
  • The Geological Society of America: The GSA offers grants and loans for geology students, as well as a list of non-GSA internships, fellowships, and scholarships. Explore GeoCorp positions: paid, short-term, highly competitive jobs in National Parks, Forests, and BLM Land.
  • Marine Science Careers: Get info on salaries, career outlooks, and explore different fields of marine science and oceanography.
  • Buzzfile and Vault Career Insider are useful tools available through the CDC for in-depth career research into specific areas of interest.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook: Maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor, this online database gives a detailed description of various fields/occupations including interpreters & translators, social scientists, teachers, and international business consultants.
  • GoinGlobal provides country-specific career information, expert advice, and insider tips for finding employment opportunities at home and abroad. Log in with your Handshake account.

The earth sciences

Of course, many geology majors elect to pursue careers in the earth sciences. Jobs in environmental areas continue to employ significant numbers of geologists.

  • Many Geology majors work as hydrogeologists for consulting firms concerned with issues of water supplies, water quality and contamination problems. 
  • Other consultants specialize in land use planning, soil conservation, seismic risk assessment, or hazardous waste disposal. Geologic consultants also work in government at the national level (e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency) and in equivalent state agencies. 
  • A significant number of geologists are employed in various capacities with many government agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Aeronautic and Space Agency, the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the various national laboratories such as Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, etc.

Geologic exploration and development

The traditional employers of geologists, domestic petroleum and mining companies, are not as dominant as they used to be, but continue to employ large numbers of geologists. Much exploration and development activity is now international and many opportunities exist for those willing to travel or relocate. These markets have always been cyclical, boom or bust, industries, however, there are always jobs for the most determined and best-trained geologists. (It also doesn't hurt to be well connected!)

Academia and teaching

Finally, a large number of geologists are in academia. Jobs teaching at the college level are quite hard to acquire these days, though again, such jobs are there for the most tenacious. Teaching K-12 levels in public schools requires teaching certification and requirements vary state to state. Qualified science teachers are generally in demand, though most of these are in chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics. Still, earth science teachers are employed in many school districts.