Careers 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.

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 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.

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!) 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.