Careers in Geology
Why Choose a Career in Geology?
A geology career can provide a lifetime of learning about fascinating topics, a chance to use cutting edge tools, and the opportunity to work on some of society's most pressing challenges. This video from the Geological Society of America summarizes some of the benefits:
Strong Workforce Demand
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of geoscience jobs is expected to increase by 5% over the next decade, faster than the average for all occupations. This increase is driven by retirements but also a rising demand for resources that geologists help provide. As human populations grow, they need more water, energy, and mineral resources. Because of this growth, there is expected to be a shortage of geoscientists over the next decade.
Reflecting this strong workforce demand, geoscience jobs pay well. Mean annual salaries for geoscience occupations are well above the national average for life, physical, and social sciences. The median annual salary for geoscientists in 2020 was over $93,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
*Geoscientists category excludes hydrologists and geographers
What Do Geologists Do?
One of the great things about geology is that there is something for everyone! Industries that many of our graduates go on to work in include water resources and the environment, oil and gas, and mining. Many also pursue government careers, including jobs for the state of Kansas and beyond. There are many ways you can apply a geology degree. Some resources available to help you learn more are available at the following links:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics - what do geoscientists do?
- American Geosciences Institute - geoscience careers brochure
- American Geosciences Institute - geoscience workforce reports
Helping You Reach Your Goals
At present, the Department of Geology offers the B.S./B.A. degree and the M.S. degree in geology (see Degree Options). Our B.S./B.A. degree provides broad exposure to the core elements of geology. However, students can choose to focus their upper level electives to match their career interests. Our M.S. degree option allows students to further focus their training in their area of interest and in doing so, prepare themselves for further study (e.g., Ph.D. program) or career employment.
Nearly all of our students either go on for further study, or receive solid, career-building offers from significant agencies or corporations. Many also participate in summer internships that often lead to job offers when they graduate. In addition, many of our advisory council members are in a position to interview our students in informal settings, and many careers have been launched in this manner. We also encourage our students to attend meetings of professional societies (e.g. for presenting research results and professional networking) and our alumni and the department support these efforts with funding.
Earth is Calling