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Geological & Earth Sciences

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Geological & Earth Sciences Major

9,673 yearly degrees
#99 in popularity
$102,000 median salary

Geological and earth sciences is a major that typically falls into the Physical Sciences category.

There are 107 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in geology, 578 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 293 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 195 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Geology Degree?

Geological and earth sciences runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #64 out of all the majors we track. In 2017, about 6,800 graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in this major. This major attracts more men than women. About 60.7% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of geology majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 3.5%
  • Black or African American: 2.6%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 10%
  • White: 71.8%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 4.5%
  • Other Races: 7.6%
Geological & Earth Sciences Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in geology. About 4.5% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending geology majors to the U.S. are China, Saudi Arabia and India.

What Will You Learn as a Geological & Earth Sciences Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to geology to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Geology Majors

Geology majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Geological & Earth Sciences Majors

Skills for Geology Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to geology:

Important Skills for Geological & Earth Sciences Majors

Abilities for Geology Majors

As a geology major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

Important Abilities for geology Majors

What Can You Do With a Geology Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with geology:

Careers Related to Geological & Earth Sciences
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Professors






Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers



Natural Sciences Managers



Water Resource Specialists



Chemistry Professors



Geological & Earth Sciences Major Salary

Average salaries range from $92,000 to $108,000 for careers related to geology. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Geology Major  ( 92000 to 108000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Geological & Earth Sciences Major Jobs

Some careers associated with geology may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much education do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to geology have obtained the following education levels.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Geological & Earth Sciences
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Geological & Earth Sciences Programs

There are 578 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in geological and earth sciences, with 5 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Many learners are drawn to online programs due to the ease of use and flexibility. Students should be warned that those who enroll in online programs can take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to drop out.

Is a Geological & Earth Sciences Major Worth It?

The median salary for a geology grad is $102,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 162% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,259,800 after 20 years!

geological and earth sciences salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Kelvinsong via License

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