Entry-Level Geology Career Options
Although on-the-job training may vary, there are several geology careers that do not require prior work experience in a related occupation and are considered entry level. Here we compare and contrast several of these entry-level positions.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*|
|Geological and Petroleum Technicians||$56,470||16%|
|Mining and Geological Engineers (Including Mining Safety Engineers)||$93,720||7%|
|Geoscientists (Except Hydrologists and Geographers)||$89,780||14%|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists (Including Health)||$68,910||11%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Career Information for Entry-Level Geology Jobs
Geological and Petroleum Technicians
Geological and petroleum technicians do not need prior work experience, but they do undergo moderate-term on-the-job training. These technicians help scientists and engineers search for and extract natural resources, which usually requires them to install and use various pieces of field and laboratory equipment. They also help collect and prepare lab samples of rock and soil, perform a variety of scientific tests on samples and prepare reports with their results. Geological and petroleum technicians usually have two years of postsecondary education or an associate's degree, but some positions may require a bachelor's degree.
Mining and Geological Engineers
Mining and geological engineers are not required to have previous related work experience or on-the-job training. These engineers design safe mines and figure out the most effective and efficient ways to extract minerals. Geological engineers specialize in finding mineral deposits and potential mine locations and then design environmentally friendly and efficient ways to extract the minerals. Mining and geological engineers need at least a bachelor's degree and usually have to pass two exams to receive licensure.
Geoscientists do not need related work experience or on-the-job training to study Earth and its various physical characteristics. These scientists design research projects and perform various field studies to examine the different structures and processes of our planet in order to understand its past, present and future. They often collect rock samples to analyze and create geological maps and scientific reports based upon their findings. Geoscientists need at least a bachelor's degree from a geoscience program that is heavy in geology courses, but some of these scientists begin their career with a master's degree.
Hydrologists are also not required to have work experience in a related job or any on-the-job training. Hydrologists specialize in studying water and how it moves across Earth, as well as its cycle and how it affects the environment. These scientists collect water samples, monitor the pH and contaminant levels, measure different properties of bodies of water, evaluate water-related projects and conduct other research aimed at addressing water quality and availability issues. Most hydrologists need a bachelor's degree in geoscience or earth science with a concentration in hydrology, but some begin their career with a master's degree.
Environmental Scientists and Specialists
Environmental scientists and specialists do not need prior work experience or on-the-job training to help protect the environment, as well as human health. These professionals collect environmental data from observations and soil, water and air samples and then use their analysis to develop plans for correcting and/or preventing any pollution or contaminants in the area. Their technical reports and research is often used by government officials, the public and other officials to better understand environmental health risks and influence decisions in these areas. Environmental scientists and specialists need a bachelor's degree in a natural science, like biology, geosciences or chemistry.