Employment in the Geosciences

Jump Down To: Geoscience Employment Trends

How much do geoscientists earn?

The answer to this important question is "It depends." Income for geoscience careers tends to be quite competitive, but it is also highly dependent on education, location, and occupation. Listed below is information from several sources breaking out the available income data in several different ways.

US Department of Labor
The US Department of Labor Occupational Outlook provides information about various careers (workplace, entry-level education, employment outlook, median salary, and more). The dollar figures listed constitute the median pay for that position in 2010 from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey.

Career Cornerstone Center
The Career Cornerstone Center, using data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, gives the median income for all geoscientists = $79,160. The median income in particular industries employing a lot of geoscientists are:
  • Oil and gas extraction $127,560
  • Federal Executive Branch $90,220
  • Management, scientific, & technical consulting services $62,070
  • State government $57,700
Note that these data are for industries as a whole, not for particular jobs in those industries.

AGI Geoscience Workforce Program Reports

The American Geosciences Institute conducts extensive surveys of the geoscience workforce and puts together periodic reports on the state of affairs in the sector. The most recent report was published in 2011 but previous reports are also available.

Geoscience Employment Trends

Geoscience graduate hires, 2000
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Where students earning degrees in geoscience in 2000 were hired. Data from AGI. [reuse info]
The Building Strong Geoscience Departments website has extensive information on the current trends in geoscience employment. These materials include presentations and videos from experts on the future of geoscience employment, articles and other resources, and employment data.

Student working on a hydrogen fuel cell
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Students gain valuable science experience while working on projects that address societal challenges. Here an undergraduate student intern performs hydrogen fuel cell research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. [creative commons]
Provenance: Schroeder, Dennis - NREL Staff Photographer
Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.
The InTeGrate project has also compiled a great resource on building a workforce for a sustainable future, which will require employees with geoscience and Earth-related expertise.