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Geology career opportunities are more diverse than ever due to the growing national concern of dwindling natural resources, urban expansion, and environmental problems. Geological employment is strong in water resources, engineering geology, and environmental geology; although, many other fields employ people with degrees in geology and related fields. The chart below displays the percentage of individuals employed in various fields based on survey data collected by the National Science Foundation in 1999.
Fig. 1 Career Opportunities (from the 1999 National Science Foundation Survey Results)
Slightly more than one-third of individuals with geology degrees become researchers or scientists. The largest employer of these geologists is the environmental industry including areas of exploration for resources, sighting of engineering structures and facilities, monitoring of environmental pollution, and remediation of problems. Environmental work is found primarily in hydrogeological, environmental, and engineering geology companies as well as state and federal agencies. Other major employers are petroleum and mining companies, railroads, chemical, cement, utility firms, real estate developers, and banking and investment firms. The federal government employs many geologists for work in such agencies as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Geology degrees are excellent liberal arts degrees that provide a firm foundation in problem solving and critical thinking. Almost fifteen percent of individuals with geology degrees are employed as administrators and managers in fields other than geology. This number increases significantly when you consider the number of individuals employed in professional fields such as a engineering, architecture, andlaw, or in sales and service related fields.
For additional information on Geology and Earth Science Careers, visit Earth Magazine, a publication of the American Geological Institute.