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Geoscience Careers

Geoscience Careers Infographic

Geoscientists integrate and apply a wide range of scientific skills and concepts to examine Earth’s composition, structure, and processes in order to better understand its past, present, and future. In addition to having the opportunity to have fulfilling and environmentally friendly careers, their rigorous educational experience affords geoscience degree holders with good employability and salary potential. Geoscientists also have the benefit of working in multiple work environments including in the field, laboratories, and the office.

Geoscience occupations exist in a number of fields (i.e. engineering, science, writing, business, policy, law, medicine, art, and education) and a variety of sectors (i.e. nonprofit, academia, government, industry, and research) (see the AGI Workforce Infographic above for details).

You can watch short videos on geoscience careers here and here.

Graph of Geoscience workforce changes by occupation

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 6.2% increase in employment opportunities for geoscientists over the coming decade. This equates to about 20,000 new opportunities for professionals holding geoscience degrees.2

Areas that Employ Geoscientists

Investigate different sectors of the economy that employ geoscientists.


Faisal Adams, Cecelia Wood, Marc Michel
Geosciences Ph.D. students Faisal Adams and Cecelia Wood and Dr. Marc Michel visit a massive iron deposit associated with acid mine drainage discharging from an active coal mine in eastern Pennsylvania

Environmental geology includes hydrogeology, geochemistry and geophysics.  Subsequently, geoscientists are employed in a variety of roles within the environmental industry. Some examples of these roles include regulatory compliance, sustainability evaluations of water resources, solid waste management, contaminated soil and groundwater investigation and remediation.

Energy and the Energy Transition

Photo of oil platform
"Oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico" by noaa_response_restoration is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

All of the energy society depends on comes from the Earth or the Sun. Geoscientists play an essential role in developing these energy resources, as well as evaluating and mitigating the environmental impacts of this development. Energy companies therefore employ geoscientists in a wide range of roles. Examples include the search for and production of oil, gas, and coal reserves, the identification of geothermal resources, carbon sequestration projects, as well as the business side of these industries.

Mineral Resources

Gold formation on quartz
Gold formation on Quartz

Geoscientists play a key role in the discovery and extraction of mineral resources that are used in everything around us.  Some examples include the rare earth elements that go into the batteries that power our electronic devices and the stone that goes into our roads and buildings. Geoscientists also play a critical role in ensuring that safe and environmentally responsible practices are followed during resource extraction and after mining has ceased.


Gov Agencies

The government sector, on all levels (local, state, and federal), employ geologists in a variety of roles. These include, but are not limited to, resource management, science policy development, environmental law, basic and applied research, and geoengineering.

Here are links to a variety of federal agencies that employ geoscientists:


Photo of an educational demonstration
Hands-on educational demonstration

Geoscience educators possess the hands-on experience and content knowledge needed for teaching about earth and environmental sciences in both formal (i.e. classroom) and informal (e.g.. museums, community outreach) educational settings. They are employed at a variety of levels and a variety of venues:

  • Environmental or Earth Science Teacher (grades 6-12)
  • Curriculum Developer
  • Geoscience Education Researcher
  • Science Outreach Coordinator
  • Museum Guide
  • Science writer

Salaries in the Geosciences

In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median pay among geoscientists was $91,130 per year1.  In other words, half of geoscientists earned more than $91,000 during this timeframe. As of October, 2019, the average base pay in Geoscience was $127,965 per year3.

Job Opportunities and Career Resources


  1. Gonzales, Leila (2018). Geoscience Workforce Changes 2018-2028. CURRENTS. American  Geosciences Institute. (link)
  2. Wilson, Carolyn E. (2018). Hiring Trends of Recent Graduates, 2013-2017. CURRENTS. American Geosciences Institute. (link)
  3., (2019). Geoscience Salaries. (retrieved on October 25, 2019). (link)
  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Geoscientists. (retrieved on October 25, 2019). (link)