So you want to be a geologist? Or are you about to graduate with your geology degree and are wondering how it’ll translate in the workforce? Congratulations on choosing the gneissest job there is. The reality of the career is far from identifying minerals or schisicty texture and hiking up cinder cones or taking strikes and dips in the desert. While applying for geologist jobs my last semester in college, I realized that academia had not truly prepared me for the workforce. Academia prepared me for more academia and potentially to be a professor if I so chose that path. But it did not properly prepare me for the workforce.
I came across a reddit conversion that secured what I had been thinking while reading descriptions of geology jobs. Link Here. The few and far inbetween land a job with USGS monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes (although i’m not saying it’s impossible). The majority of geologists end up in environmental consulting which require OSHA 40 hour and involve site assessments. The latter end up in hydrogeology because these are the two sectors that make up the majority of job openings. Oil and gas is a selective and long interview process although still an active opportunity. Then there are the academia jobs such as geology professor and research positions which can be underpaying unless you’re a leading research in your field.
One of the main reasons I liked the geology profession was the ability for me to start up my own geology consulting business and not work for anyone else. This is the hardest route but can be the most successful and rewarding. Of those above jobs, excluding geology professor, the ASBOG exam and professional geologist license is preferred (more details here) and required as your career advances.The end goal being a remote geology project manager from home, which for me was a major turn off but for some may not be. However, geology is still for those who love to be outdoors, get their hands dirty and make observations about their surroundings. In addition, geology is largely project based which is what makes it a traveling job. To be a geologist, you have to be adaptable to new work settings and specific project requirement. However, get ready to pull some major overtime with drill crews.
The job growth of geology 5% from 2019 to 2029, still an impressive outlook but a quick google search makes a deceptive starting salary of ~80k. The starting salary that google search glamorizes is most likely from a licensed geologist with 6+ years of professional and project management experience. The starting salary is closer to 40-50k (still not bad) and is a more accurate depiction from my geology experience and my geologist friends. I hope this summary of findings helps you in your geology career path. Just be gneiss and you'll get the job!
Mt.Shasta and Shastina.