What Are Some Career Options in Geology?

The field of geology offers a wide variety of career options, such as mining, consulting and teaching. Many of these careers only require a bachelor's degree in geology. Continue reading for more details about geology careers and how to prepare for them. Schools offering Environmental Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Geology Career Overview

Geology is the study of the processes and materials that combine to make the planet Earth, and this field includes locating natural resources, conserving land and water quality and predicting natural events, like earthquakes and tsunamis. Career options are wide-ranging and include the fields of mineralogy, geochemistry, oceanography, stratigraphy, seismology, crystallography and environmental geology.

The majority of geology careers require at least a bachelor's degree. Some geological technician and petroleum technician jobs can be obtained with just an associate's degree. A master's degree may be needed for some advanced positions, and if you're interested in academia and independent research, you'll likely need a doctoral degree. Geology and geoscience degree programs are fairly common, but you can also enter this career field with a related natural science degree and training specifically in geology. Continue reading for an overview of four job options:

Petroleum and Mining

The mining and petroleum industries offer high-tech, well-paying jobs for geologists. In these fields, geologists gather and analyze mineral, seismic and other data to determine the viability of excavation sites and strategies. A bachelor's degree is necessary for entry-level jobs in these fields, though a master's degree may be required in some cases.

Environmental Consulting

Geologists who work as environmental consultants work for private companies to ensure that these companies are in compliance with local, state and federal environmental regulations. They analyze companies' activities to estimate their environmental impact. A bachelor's degree is necessary for these positions.


The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is the government organization that hires geologists to study how people and natural resources interact. Government agencies, private companies and the academic community use the reports created by the USGS on water quality, energy sources and related topics.


In order to teach Earth science at the K-12 level, a bachelor's degree and graduation from a teaching program is necessary. The goal of geology teachers at this level is to introduce students to the history and make-up of the Earth.

Career Statistics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for geoscientists were expected to grow 16%, adding 6,000 jobs, from 2012-2022. Most new jobs with be in the oil and gas industry and in the consulting business. Also, as of 2012, the median annual salary of geoscientists was $90,890, and the highest paying industries included the petroleum, coal, oil, gas and mining sectors.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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