U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median
for geoscientists is $79,160.
The middle 50 percent
earned between $54,470 and $113,390; the lowest 10 percent earned less
than $41,700, and the highest 10 percent more than $155,430.
mineral, and mining industries offer higher salaries, but less job
security, than other industries because economic downturns sometimes
cause layoffs. Median annual wages for the industries employing the
largest number of geoscientists are as follows:
Oil and gas
Architectural, engineering, and related services
scientific, and technical consulting services
In March 2009,
the Federal Government's average salary was $94,085 for
geologists, $108,118 for geophysicists, $89,404 for
hydrologists, and $105,671 for oceanographers.
Options Impact Salary
Salaries in the geosciences vary across industries, disciplines, and
economic cycles. Historically, the geosciences have experienced cycles of
hiring with peaks and valleys often directly tied to the price of oil, and
the trends in environmental regulation. Salaries vary
between different industries such as energy, environment, and mining.
Geoscientist supply and demand in each of these areas is driven by
different factors. The energy industry is strongly driven by the price of
oil and gas, global opportunities for exploration activity, and new
technologies that affect the economics of exploration and production.
In the environmental field, career opportunities and salaries depend
largely on the level of enforcement of environmental codes and on new
legislation developed by the government. In the natural hazards area,
business is fueled by the level of new construction both in the U.S. and
The mineral resources industry is largely driven by the price of
commodities on the open market. However, like the oil industry, the rapid
aging of the existing population of geoscientists is fueling demand for
new professionals to maintain current employment levels.
You need to track events that affect the geosciences. By developing your
own network and by being involved in professional organizations and
activities, you can remain current on employment and salary trends in
fields in which you are interested.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the
American Geological Institute
and the US Department of Labor,
Bureau of Labor Statistics.