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What Does it Take to Be a Geoscientist?

Job Description & Duties Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, minerals, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the Earth’s internal composition, atmospheres, oceans, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, paleontologists, stratigraphers, geodesists, and seismologists.

What Do Geoscientists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Determine methods to incorporate geomethane or methane hydrates into global energy production or evaluate the potential environmental impacts of such incorporation.
  • Conduct geological or geophysical studies to provide information for use in regional development, site selection, or development of public works projects.
  • Measure characteristics of the Earth, such as gravity or magnetic fields, using equipment such as seismographs, gravimeters, torsion balances, or magnetometers.
  • Provide advice on the safe siting of new nuclear reactor projects or methods of nuclear waste management.
  • Inspect construction projects to analyze engineering problems, using test equipment or drilling machinery.
  • Prepare geological maps, cross-sectional diagrams, charts, or reports concerning mineral extraction, land use, or resource management, using results of fieldwork or laboratory research.

Geoscientist Needed Skills

Below is a list of the skills most Geoscientists say are important on the job.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Types of Geoscientist Jobs

  • Geophysical Laboratory Supervisor
  • Core Analysis Operator
  • Geochemist
  • Stratigrapher
  • Hydrogeologist

Job Opportunities for Geoscientists

In the United States, there were 32,000 jobs for Geoscientist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 14.1% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 4,500 new jobs for Geoscientist by 2026. There will be an estimated 3,500 positions for Geoscientist per year.

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The states with the most job growth for Geoscientist are Tennessee, Colorado, and Oregon. Watch out if you plan on working in West Virginia, Vermont, or North Dakota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Geoscientist Salary

The salary for Geoscientists ranges between about $49,430 and $187,990 a year.

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Geoscientists who work in Texas, Oklahoma, or Louisiana, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Geoscientists in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $64,970
Alaska $99,400
Arizona $77,650
Arkansas $67,260
California $97,550
Colorado $111,130
Connecticut $85,250
Delaware $80,570
Florida $80,970
Georgia $68,860
Hawaii $109,530
Idaho $88,060
Illinois $69,480
Indiana $61,870
Iowa $71,490
Kansas $77,590
Kentucky $73,230
Louisiana $109,700
Maine $74,380
Maryland $90,110
Massachusetts $87,650
Minnesota $78,410
Mississippi $91,490
Missouri $70,340
Montana $92,680
Nebraska $79,570
Nevada $94,500
New Hampshire $95,510
New Jersey $98,050
New Mexico $86,620
New York $76,360
North Carolina $71,830
North Dakota $97,320
Ohio $75,600
Oklahoma $123,230
Oregon $74,920
Pennsylvania $108,580
Rhode Island $88,130
South Carolina $72,040
South Dakota $63,680
Tennessee $77,510
Texas $150,140
Utah $80,970
Virginia $96,290
Washington $93,710
West Virginia $77,530
Wisconsin $75,110
Wyoming $73,220

What Tools do Geoscientists Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Geoscientists may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Git
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Python
  • Microsoft Access
  • MySQL
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft Project
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • SAS
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • ESRI ArcView
  • Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP

Becoming a Geoscientist

Learn what Geoscientist education requirements there are.

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Geoscientist?

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Geoscientists Sector

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The table below shows the approximate number of Geoscientists employed by various industries.

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Those thinking about becoming a Geoscientist might also be interested in the following careers:

Are you already one of the many Geoscientist in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

Image Credit: Kelvinsong via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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