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Outlook for the Geosciences in the Workforce

Geoscience is represented in the workforce in numerous ways. Traditional geologists often find themselves working in oil and gas exploration, mining, resource management, groundwater remediation or environmental compliance. That said, the need for geoscientific expertise is expanding as climate change, a growing human population, a need for clean energy and the protection of environmental health all present large challenges where insights about Earth's processes are essential.

Professionals with geoscientific knowledge and experience can be immersed in a diverse array of occupations like hazard mitigation, community organizing, science journalism or managing sustainability efforts for large corporations. This series of pages contains descriptions of various aspects of the geoscience and environmental science workforce, and examines traditional pathways as well as emerging opportunities.

A Two-Year College Perspective

The Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education in Two-Year Colleges (SAGE) program has a host of resources about Geoscience Careers for 2-year college students.

Workforce Oveview lays out information about what geoscientists do, what kinds of preparation are necessary, and what the earning potential is in various parts of the geoscience workforce.

Career Pathways - Students can use the information on this page to plot their own route to a satisfying career in the geosciences.

Career Profiles - This collection of career profiles combines personal descriptions of the individual career paths of many geoscience professionals. From academia, to industry, to government, and beyond, there are many ways that a geoscience degree can set our students up for success.

Things to add to these pages



Davies, John, 2011, GreenBiz Salary Survey 2011 , Published online November 14, 2011

Mascarelli, A., 2013, Sustainability: Environmental puzzle solvers, Nature 494, 507-509. doi:10.1038/nj7438-507a. Published online February 27, 2013.

Perkins, Sid, 2011, Geosciences: Earth works , Nature 473, 243-244. doi:10.1038/nj7346-243a. Published online May 11, 2011.

Data and Reports:

American Geosciences Institute, AGI Geoscience Workforce Program Reports

Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Occupational Outlook for Geoscientists
Occupational Outlook for Environmental Specialists
Occupational Outlook for Hydrologists

Center for Energy Workforce Development , Energy Industry Competency Model: Generation, Transmission and Distribution (pdf)

Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action (2013), by the National Academy of Science, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources. View a PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 1.4MB Apr26 13) of this report.

Other Resources:

Wind career tool

Federal Support for US Mining Schools (pdf), by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, Inc., March 2013

Utilities Seek Fresh Talent for Smart Grids, New York Times, published December 29, 2010.

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