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A geologist is a trained professional who studies the composition, structure, and history of the earth in order to provide an understanding of the history of the earth and to predict future occurrences. They study rocks, minerals, and the sequences of earth processes, then use their knowledge of chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, and geology to explain certain phenomena.

Their job is also useful in locating minerals, petroleum deposits, and underground water resources. A geologist may decide to focus on a specific field within geology. Popular fields include marine geology, environmental geology, economic geology, petroleum geology, and engineering geology.

Employment opportunities for geologists can be found in the oil and gas industry, civil engineering, construction companies, government agencies and the underground water industry. The job of a geologist may involve a lot of travel because they do a lot of site visits. Therefore, they have flexible work schedules and may work late evenings and even during the weekends.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a geologist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $37.28 an hour? That's $77,551 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 1,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Geologist Do

There are certain skills that many geologists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed physical stamina, communication skills and problem-solving skills.

Learn more about what a Geologist does

How To Become a Geologist

If you're interested in becoming a geologist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 79.3% of geologists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 14.3% of geologists have master's degrees. Even though most geologists have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a geologist. When we researched the most common majors for a geologist, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on geologist resumes include associate degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a geologist. In fact, many geologist jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many geologists also have previous career experience in roles such as research assistant or teaching assistant.

Geologist Career Paths

Average Salary for a Geologist

Geologists in America make an average salary of $77,551 per year or $37 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $126,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $47,000 per year.
Average Geologist Salary
$77,551 Yearly
$37.28 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Geologist Education

Geologist Majors

82.1 %

Geologist Degrees


79.3 %


14.3 %


3.5 %

Top Colleges for Geologists

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

2. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition

5. University of California - Davis

Davis, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

6. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

7. San Jose State University

San Jose, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

8. Texas A&M University

College Station, TX • Private

In-State Tuition

9. University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

10. San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

Top Skills For a Geologist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 23.4% of geologists listed oversight on their resume, but soft skills such as physical stamina and communication skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Geologist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Geologist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Geologist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Geologist Demographics

Geologist Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among geologists, 21.3% of them are women, while 78.7% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among geologists is White, which makes up 82.7% of all geologists.

  • The most common foreign language among geologists is Spanish at 51.5%.

Online Courses For Geologist That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
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Best States For a Geologist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a geologist. The best states for people in this position are Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Maine. Geologists make the most in Texas with an average salary of $115,949. Whereas in Oklahoma and South Carolina, they would average $96,472 and $78,564, respectively. While geologists would only make an average of $77,418 in Maine, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. West Virginia

Total Geologist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
2.73 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Texas

Total Geologist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
0.77 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Oklahoma

Total Geologist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
0.68 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Geologists

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Top Geologist Employers

Most Common Employers For Geologist

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Devon Energy$135,447$65.1210
2Exxon Mobil$121,827$58.5720
5Marathon Oil$115,946$55.7436
8Weatherford International$87,725$42.1812
9Core Laboratories$84,091$40.4320

What are the best companies to work for a Geologist?

Dr. Adam Woods Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, California State University, Fullerton

Most of our graduates work for environmental or engineering companies that range from regional to international scale.Show more

Geologist Videos

Becoming a Geologist FAQs

Do geologists get paid well?

Yes, some geologists get paid well. A person's pay in geology roles can range from $30,000 to $120,000 in a year.

The pay a person makes as a geologist depends on various factors. These include education, experience, industry, company, and location. While some of these factors have more influence than others, the five work together to determine a person's salary.

How many years does it take to become a geologist?

It takes three to five years of field experience to become a geologist. To become a geologist, a person needs their bachelor's degree, field experience, and a license depending on the state they work in.

Is being a geologist hard?

No, working as a geologist is not hard. However, this field can be challenging to break into as a new graduate without extensive work experience. This is because the job market tends to be cyclical, and networking is essential.

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