GEOLOGISTS study the composition, structure, processes and history of the Earth. They try to find out how rocks were formed and what has happened to them since formation. They also study the evolution of life by analyzing plant and animal fossils. Some explore for oil and gas deposits. Some offer advice on major construction projects and assist in environmental correction. They may analyze and classify minerals and precious stones according to composition and structure. They study fossils to trace the evolution of plant and animal life. Stratigraphers study the formation and layering of rocks to understand the environment in which they were formed.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $82,000 average per year ($39.50 per hour)
- A medium occupation (30,800 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.8% per year)
A bachelor's degree in geology is adequate for entry-level GEOLOGISTS. A masterís degree is required for most entry-level research positions in colleges and universities, federal agencies, and state geological surveys. A Ph.D. degree is required for most high-level research positions. Many colleges and universities offer degrees in geology. High school students should take as many science, math, and computer courses as they can. Those with experience in computer modeling, data analysis, digital mapping, remote sensing, and GIS will have the best opportunities.