Geologists, or geoscientists, spend time studying the earth in-depth. Typically, this includes the physical aspects of the earth as well as the structure, composition and various processes. Working in the field or in laboratories, geologists attempt to better understand the earth and the past, present and future changes and processes. The job outlook for a geologist is great; it is a wonderful career for someone who is detail-oriented and has a keen interest towards our planet.

How the Future Looks for Geologists

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that from now until the year 2020, there will be 7,100 more jobs available for geologists. This will make the total number of US jobs reach just over 41,000. The BLS reports that the states with the highest levels of employment for geologists include Texas with 11,160, California with 4,270, Colorado with 2,180, and Oklahoma with 1,540 jobs. Geologists who are employed with petroleum- and coal-based product manufacturing companies will earn the most money in the future, and those who work in the mining support industry will likely earn the least.

Growth in the Industry

Geologist jobs will grow by 21% through the year 2020, which is much faster than the national average for other careers. Newer jobs will open up in management, scientific and technical consulting services. Individuals are better able to find jobs in areas with higher populations, although this type of job often demands that the professional travel to various locations. This can be exciting for those who are interested in traveling and seeing different areas of the world, especially those that might be remote. Growth within the industry is expected to be influenced primarily by the demand for newer, safer ways to extract fuels from the Earth.

Places of Employment

A great deal of jobs are often available in oil and gas extraction. In fact, 5.31% of geologists work in these types of careers. Architectural, engineering and related services make up about 0.57% of geologist jobs while management, scientific and technical consulting services make up about 0.42% of the industry. Others may work with local or federal governments or with petroleum and coal products manufacturing or agriculture, construction and mining machinery manufacture.

Better Opportunities for Geologists

Individuals who have obtained at least a Bachelor’s degree in geosciences can enter the field, although those who have gained a higher degree may have more opportunities available to them. In addition, individuals who have participated in internships or who have gained hands-on experience may also have better opportunities. Many states require that geologists become licensed before being able to practice within their state. The National Association of State Boards of Geology provides more information on licensing and procedures.
States like South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa have the lowest number of employed geologists, so geologists living in these areas may want to consider relocation before searching for a job. The BLS suggests that those seeking high-level or research positions first obtain a Ph.D. in geosciences or similar subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology or engineering with coursework in geology.