Employment Opportunities of the Future

Employment Opportunities of the FutureProspects for employment of students holding degrees in geology and related geoscience fields are promising.  Job growth in the geosciences is expected to exceed the average for all occupations from 2010 through 2018 according to studies published by the Bureau for Labor Statistics.  In some sectors of the field, demand is expected to surpass the supply of qualified new workers.  The continued need for energy and natural materials, environmental protection, natural-hazard mitigation, and responsible stewardship of land and natural resources is expected to stimulate employment of geologists and maintain the robust levels of salary compensation.  This effect should be bolstered by anticipated increases in spending to improve the nation’s infrastructure, a process that will increase demand for geologists with engineering-related expertise.  Demand for geologists and hydrogeologists is also expected to be augmented by worldwide demographic trends indicating that populations will increasingly migrate toward geologically sensitive, and sometimes dangerous, regions.

Moreover, anticipated assessment of volcanic-related hazards, earthquake potential, coastal erosions tendencies, and water-resource issues will result in increased opportunities for qualified geoscientists.  Hydrogeologists, in particular, are expected to benefit from the increased need for qualified professionals to provide advice concerning issues as varied as soil and water contamination, storm-water management, coastal aquifer contamination, hazardous-waste site management, and effective design of environmental remediation systems.  Jobs in the oil and gas industry, normally relatively high paying but cyclical in availability due to fluctuations in commodity pricing, are expected to be bolstered by anticipated high petroleum prices that point toward continued demand for qualified graduates.  Even in those sectors where employment is affected by reduced budget levels such as agencies of the Federal or state governments, opportunities for employment will continue due to the need to replace current workers lost due to attrition.  Some of the Federal agencies that hire geologists include the U.S. Geological Survey (including the Division of Water Resources), Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy.  Most states have a dedicated geological survey (for more information, visit the Association of American State Geologists).  Perhaps not unexpectedly, students entering the field with a master’s degree in a geoscience field should expect to enjoy significantly enhanced choice of career path and salary level over those holding only a bachelor’s degree.