What is a Geoscientist?

What Does a Geoscientist Do?

Geoscience is the study of the earth's history and how it functions and interacts with the surrounding biospheres. Geoscientists study the earth's many different facets, including its geological composition, processes, and history. Their primary way of doing this is often through planning and conducting studies in the field, which involves traveling to a specific location and collecting samples. Geoscientists then analyze these samples and share their findings with any interested parties, as well as other scientists. Sometimes they use other tools like aerial photographs or drilling records to help locate deposits of oil, precious gems, and other resources.

Where Does a Geoscientist Work?

Geoscientists usually spend a great deal of time working in the field, but also work in laboratories. Fieldwork typically involves traveling to distant and sometimes isolated locations for extended periods of time. They may be required to brave adverse weather conditions and perform physically demanding tasks. When working in the lab, they are often required to utilize advanced equipment and specialized computer programs to analyze data.

Most work full-time with a great deal of potential for overtime or strange hours when conducting fieldwork.

What Is the Average Geoscientist Salary?

Geoscientists earn $90,890 a year on average, with the highest 10% earning around $187,200 and the lowest 10% earning around $48,270.

Most of these scientists work for oil and gas extraction companies, while others work for private engineering services and consulting companies. A smaller percentage work for the state or federal government.

Environmental Scientist Salary Table

Location Total Employment Annual Salary
United States 34,510 $41,700
Alabama 660 $39,800
Alaska 220 $39,610
Arizona 700 $44,590
Arkansas 190 $36,680
California 3,690 $46,110
Colorado 1,050 $45,190
Connecticut 350 $46,070
Delaware 190 $34,750
District of Columbia 330 $27,000
Florida 1,780 $34,520
Georgia 540 $41,050
Hawaii 220 $40,410
Idaho 190 $49,180
Illinois 1,170 $42,730
Indiana 570 $36,980
Iowa 320 $38,820
Kansas 190 $44,450
Kentucky 450 $42,610
Louisiana 390 $35,970
Maine 160 $36,470
Maryland 530 $51,580
Massachusetts 1,110 $36,380
Michigan 920 $42,260
Minnesota 440 $42,880
Mississippi 160 $37,870
Missouri 300 $42,410
Montana 130 $39,870
Nebraska 170 $50,140
Nevada 390 $62,630
New Hampshire 240 $37,590
New Jersey 1,050 $39,580
New Mexico 230 $45,640
New York 2,470 $43,810
North Carolina 1,170 $38,000
North Dakota 180 $37,320
Ohio 1,140 $40,120
Oklahoma 480 $34,600
Oregon 310 $51,080
Pennsylvania 1,620 $39,540
Rhode Island 40 $56,620
South Carolina 790 $63,650
South Dakota 100 $26,900
Tennessee 910 $45,990
Texas 2,820 $39,540
Utah 420 $46,050
Vermont 70 $43,710
Virginia 610 $43,230
Washington 1,160 $53,420
West Virginia 380 $36,210
Wisconsin 670 $39,960
Wyoming 140 $39,210
Puerto Rico 120 $25,790

Table data taken from nation BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes194091.htm)

What Is the Job Demand for Geoscientists?

The job demand for Geoscientists is expected to increase by 16% in the next 10 years, which is faster than most other occupations. Growing demand for environmental resources and improvements in extraction technologies are increasing the demand for this profession, as well as the design and construction of alternative energy fields.

What Are the Educational Requirements to Become a Geoscientist?

Geoscientists require a bachelor's degree in geosciences, geology, physics, or related field for entry-level positions, though this is rarely sufficient for achieving a higher paying position. Most actually hold a master's or Ph.D., particularly if they are seeking out research or teaching positions.

Possessing computer knowledge is also incredibly important for this position, meaning that those wishing to enter the field should acquire as much hands-on experience with specialized programs as possible. In addition, some Geoscientists may need to be licensed in some states.

Degrees Related to Geoscience

What Kind of Societies and Professional Organizations Do Geoscientists Have?

Geoscientists and those who wish to enter the field can also browse through these organizations for valuable resources:

  • Geological Society of America is the foremost professional association for geologists of all stripes. It has 18 divisions, including one for Environmental and Engineering Geology. It also organizes networking opportunities through geoscience travel and tours.
  • American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is a non-profit organization that provides numerous sources of industry-specific information in the Geoscience field through publications, annual conferences, and encouraging communication across different disciplines. This organization also works to increase public awareness of environmental health and safety.
  • Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) is an international professional organization dedicated to bolstering women's role in Geoscience. They provide scholarships, awards, mentoring opportunities, and networking services for women hoping to advance their careers or young women breaking into the field. In addition, the organization offers numerous industry-specific publications and public events to encourage communication in the field.