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Overview of Geology
Geology is the area of study and research that deals with understanding the earth, the material and forces that shape it, in order to better construct the planet’s past history, understand it’s current state, and predict future possibilities. Individuals in this field apply various research techniques in order to map and identify phenomena, including weather patterns, earthquakes, volcanic activity, and other natural occurrences to better understand the evolution of the planet.
Curricular Requirements for Geology Majors
Students seeking to study geology will generally earn at minimum a bachelor’s degree, though a master’s degree is more common for research positions. Individuals in this field will learn a variety of sciences as they apply to global phenomena, including slow processes such as erosion, and violent one’s such as eruptions or quakes. Identification of such phenomena is used to determine patterns, effects, and dates for potential shifts in climate and land formation. Individuals will also learn a variety of research techniques, identification tools, computer modeling skills and more.
A curriculum may include:
- Historical Geology
- Soils and Hydrology
- Structural Geology
- Environmental Management
- Environmental Science
Schools that have active geology programs should also have laboratories, and regular trips in order to familiarize student with practical methods for field research. Students should review and contact geology department in order to ascertain what kind of experiences are available, including possible inclusion in research projects. Graduate level programs should have more activity in this regard, and may be a significant factor in one’s choice of school and program.
Employment Opportunities in Geology
Geologists should experience significant job growth over the next decade as the demand for professionals increases due to environmental and land use concerns. Individuals in this field will find employment in a number of locations, including the private sector, government agencies, education institutions, and non-profit organizations. Individuals will be involved in planning, policy, conservation programs and more, working with other scientists, lawmakers, and others in order to find the best, cleanest and most efficient use of available space in order to remain sustainable.
The national median income for geologists is $89,780 annually which translates to $43.16 per hour. The job growth is expected to be 10% through 2024 and add nearly 4,000 geologists to the employment ranks during the same reporting period.
States with the Most Geologists
- Texas 9,070
- California 3,910
- Colorado 2,180
- Louisiana 1,100
- Oklahoma 1,090
Highest Paying States for Geologists
- Texas $142,850
- District of Columbia $127,220
- Oklahoma $122,950
- Colorado $114,170
- Louisiana $106,530
Additional Resources for Geology Majors
For students interested in learning more about this field of study, regional and national organizations may be worth further research. Top ranked geology associations include the following organizations: Geological Society of America (GSA), Society of Economic Geologists (SEG), Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEEG), and the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG).