Careers - Geology as a Profession

Do you enjoy physical and intellectual challenges? Do you like to travel to interesting and even remote locations? Does working with others—who have diverse interests and backgrounds—to solve multifaceted problems intrigue you? If so, then you should consider a career in geology!

What is Geology?

Geology is the science devoted to understanding our planet — its materials, structure, processes, and history. Geology is a multidisciplinary science with strong links to chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, and engineering. Simply put, geologists use a large variety of scientific tools to ask questions about how Earth works.

Their goals include obtaining new knowledge about the Earth; searching for new reserves of essential minerals, fossil fuels, or water; understanding and lessening the effects upon society by geologic hazards such as earthquakes and floods; and minimizing the environmental impacts of human activities.

Need for Geologists

Every day, we see news reports about subjects such as global climate change, natural disasters, energy and mineral resources, pollution, waste disposal, and water issues. With a total population of more than 7 billion that continues to grow ever faster, we constantly increase our demands on the Earth for resources critical to our survival, deepen our impact upon the planet, and expand our potential exposure to natural and human-generated hazards.

As a result, there is an ever-growing need for greater understanding of the Earth on local to global levels, and thus for more people with geologic knowledge. Indeed, this knowledge is essential to maintaining key aspects of our increasingly global society, including economic security and growth, environmental protection, international competitiveness, material infrastructure, and even national defense. Geologists and other geoscientists are needed at the forefront of efforts to address these issues.

Diverse Career Possibilities

Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of the geosciences is that they offer so many different possible career paths. Geologists are typically employed by:

  • Environmental Consulting and Engineering Firms
  • Petroleum and Mining Companies
  • State and Federal Governments (Environmental Protection Agency, Parks, Health Departments)
  • Schools and Universities
  • Corporations of all types and sizes

The present heightened needs for energy, environmental protection, and resource management are expected to increase employment opportunities for geoscientists by over 20% over the next decade, much faster than the average growth for all occupations. This is an excellent time to consider a career in geology!

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