Summary Report for:
19-2042.00 - Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers
Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, minerals, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the Earth's internal composition, atmospheres, oceans, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, paleontologists, stratigraphers, geodesists, and seismologists.
Sample of reported job titles: Engineering Geologist, Environmental Protection Geologist, Exploration Geologist, Geological Specialist, Geologist, Geophysicist, Geoscientist, Mine Geologist, Petroleum Geologist, Project Geologist
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Analyze and interpret geological, geochemical, or geophysical information from sources such as survey data, well logs, bore holes, or aerial photos.
- Plan or conduct geological, geochemical, or geophysical field studies or surveys, sample collection, or drilling and testing programs used to collect data for research or application.
- Prepare geological maps, cross-sectional diagrams, charts, or reports concerning mineral extraction, land use, or resource management, using results of fieldwork or laboratory research.
- Analyze and interpret geological data, using computer software.
- Investigate the composition, structure, or history of the Earth's crust through the collection, examination, measurement, or classification of soils, minerals, rocks, or fossil remains.
- Assess ground or surface water movement to provide advice regarding issues such as waste management, route and site selection, or the restoration of contaminated sites.
- Locate and estimate probable natural gas, oil, or mineral ore deposits or underground water resources, using aerial photographs, charts, or research or survey results.
- Locate and review research articles or environmental, historical, or technical reports.
- Communicate geological findings by writing research papers, participating in conferences, or teaching geological science at universities.
- Measure characteristics of the Earth, such as gravity or magnetic fields, using equipment such as seismographs, gravimeters, torsion balances, or magnetometers.
- Conduct geological or geophysical studies to provide information for use in regional development, site selection, or development of public works projects.
- Identify risks for natural disasters, such as mudslides, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions.
- Design geological mine maps, monitor mine structural integrity, or advise and monitor mining crews.
- Advise construction firms or government agencies on dam or road construction, foundation design, land use, or resource management.
- Inspect construction projects to analyze engineering problems, using test equipment or drilling machinery.
- Develop applied software for the analysis and interpretation of geological data.
- Identify deposits of construction materials suitable for use as concrete aggregates, road fill, or in other applications.
- Collaborate with medical or health researchers to address health problems related to geological materials or processes.
- Determine methods to incorporate geo-methane or methane hydrates into global energy production or evaluate the potential environmental impacts of such incorporation.
- Determine ways to mitigate the negative consequences of mineral dust dispersion.
- Develop strategies for more environmentally friendly resource extraction and reclamation.
- Develop ways to capture or use gases that are currently burned off as waste during oil production processes.
- Identify new sources for Platinum Group Elements necessary for industrial uses, such as automotive fuel cells or pollution abatement systems.
- Identify possible sites for carbon sequestration projects.
- Locate potential sources of geothermal energy.
- Provide advice on the safe siting of new nuclear reactor projects or methods of nuclear waste management.
- Research geomechanical or geochemical processes to be used in carbon sequestration projects.
- Research ways to reduce the ecological footprint of increasingly prevalent megacities.
- Review environmental cleanup work plans to determine the effectiveness of the remedial activities for mitigating soil or groundwater contamination.
- Study historical climate change indicators found in locations such as ice sheets or rock formations to develop models related to current climate changes.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- All terrain vehicles tracked or wheeled — All terrain vehicles ATV
- Atomic absorption AA spectrometers — Atomic absorption AA spectrophotometers
- Bench scales — Electronic bench scales
- Benchtop centrifuges — Centrifuges
- Binocular light compound microscopes — Illuminated microscopes; Optical compound microscopes
- Chemical absorption gas analyzers — Portable organic vapor analyzers
- Chromatographic scanners
- Cold chisels — Rock chisels
- Commercial fishing nets — Plankton nets
- Compasses — Mapping dividers
- Compressed air gun — Pneumatic airscribes
- Conductivity cells — Electrical conductivity cells
- Conductivity meters — Electrical conductivity meters
- Cyclone or vortex grinders — Rotary grinders
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras
- Dissolved oxygen meters
- Drafting kits or sets — Mapping scale sets; Vertical sketchmasters
- Dredgers — Biological dredges
- Drying cabinets or ovens — Drying ovens
- Electromagnetic geophysical instruments — Alternating field demagnitizers; Degaussing wands; Impulse magnetizers; Thermal specimen demagnitizers
- Electron microscopes — Electron microprobes
- Electronic toploading balances
- Forestry increment borers — Tree corers
- Fume hoods or cupboards — Fume hoods
- Geological compasses — Geological stratum compasses; Pocket transits; Sun compasses
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Graphics tablets — Digitizing tablets
- Gravimeters — Gravity meters; Microgravimeters
- Hammers — Chisel hammers; Crack hammers; Soft face hammers
- Heating or drying equipment or accessories — Dessicators
- Height gauges — Abney levels; Altimeters
- Hydraulic rock drills — Hydraulic earth drills
- Inductively coupled plasma ICP spectrometers — Argon plasma atomic emission spectroscopes
- Ion chromatographs
- Jaw crushers
- Laboratory box furnaces — One-atmosphere furnaces
- Laboratory crushers or pulverizers — Laboratory rock pulverizers
- Laboratory mechanical convection ovens — High temperature laboratory ovens
- Laboratory mixers — Agitators; Roto torque mixers
- Laboratory separators — Isodynamic separators
- Laboratory sifting equipment — Sieve shakers
- Laser printers
- Levels — Hand levels
- Magnetometer geophysical instruments — Rock magnetometers; Vibrating sample magnetometers
- Magnifiers — Hand magnifying lenses
- Mainframe computers
- Map measurers — Analog map measurers; Digital map measurers; Planimeters
- Mass spectrometers
- Medical computed tomography CT or CAT scanners or tubes — Computed tomography CT scanners
- Microscope slides
- Nitrogen gas analyzers — Brunauer-Emmett-Teller BET surface area analyzers
- Notebook computers
- Open stream current meters — Water current meters
- Open stream water level recorders — Water level recorders
- Optical diffraction apparatus — Submicron particle size analyzers
- Organic carbon analyzers — Carbon analyzers
- Paramagnetic susceptibility analyzers — Magnetic susceptibility measurement systems; Magnetic susceptibility/anisotropy systems; Magnetic susceptibility/temperature systems; Pocket magnetic susceptibility meters
- Penetrometers — Underwater sediment bearing strength probes
- Personal computers
- Pestle or mortars — Motorized mortars/pestles
- pH meters
- Picks — Geo/paleo picks; Rock picks
- Plotter printers — Large-format plotters
- Pneumatic rock drills — Powered rock-coring drills
- Polarizing microscopes — Petrographic microscopes
- Portable data input terminals — Mobile wireless handheld communication devices
- Portable seismic apparatus — Seismic stations
- Pry bars
- Radarbased surveillance systems — Ground penetrating radar GPR; Long range radar equipment; Short-range radar equipment
- Radiation detectors
- Rangefinders — Laser rangefinders
- Resistivity geophysical instruments — Earth resistivity meters
- Reverse osmosis equipment — Reverse osmosis systems
- Rock cutters — Rock saws
- Sand testing apparatus — Sand grain size gauges
- Scanners — Digitizers
- Scintillation crystal assemblies — Gamma ray scintillometers
- Seismic geophones — Geophones
- Seismic recorders or seismographs — Digital seismographs; Seismic activity recorders; Seismographs
- Soil core sampling apparatus — Sediment piston corers; Soil augers; Soil samplers; Tube samplers (see all 9 examples)
- Soil testing kits — X ray fluorescence XRF lead detectors
- Solid phase extraction preparations — Fusion fluxes
- Sonars — Echosounders; Multibeam echosounders; Side scan sonars; Towed sonars
- Spectrofluorimeters or fluorimeters — X ray fluorescence spectrometers
- Spectrometers — Gamma ray spectrometers
- Stereo or dissecting light microscopes — Stereo microscopes
- Test sieves
- Theodolites — Laser theodolites; Total stations
- Thermistor — Thermistor chains
- Thermographs — Temperature profile recorders
- Titration equipment — Digital alkalinity titrators
- Transmission electron microscopes — Cathodoluminescence scopes; Fluid inclusion microscopes
- Triple beam balances
- Ultrasonic cleaning equipment — Ultrasonic sieve cleaners
- Ultraviolet UV lamps
- Underwater cameras
- Vacuum or rotary evaporators — Rotoevaporators
- Video attachments for microscopes — Stereoscopes; Video microscopes
- Water analyzers — Mercury analyzers
- Water samplers — Sediment samplers; Tubular water samplers; Water sampler bottles
- Well logging downhole test equipment — Borehole cameras
- X ray diffraction equipment — X ray diffractometers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — EarthWorks Downhole Explorer; Gemcom Surpac; RockWare Geochemist's Workbench GWB; Waterloo Hydrogeologic FlowPath II (see all 87 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — Atoll GeoCAD; Evolution Computing EasyCAD; Trimble Terramodel; Upperspace DesignCAD (see all 12 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — GeoPLUS Petra; MJ Systems Logsleuth; RockWare Stratbugs; Scientific Software Group ChemPoint/ChemStat (see all 9 examples)
- Data conversion software — BOSS Didger
- Document management software — Document Express software
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — ACD Systems Canvas; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software; Golden Software Surfer (graphics or photo imaging feature); IGnet software
- Internet browser software
- Map creation software — ESRI ArcView; Geosoft Oasis montaj; Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE; SACLANTCEN (see all 17 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software; OpenOffice.org
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Detailed Work Activities
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Analyze geological or geographical data.
- Interpret research or operational data.
- Analyze geological samples.
- Develop plans to manage natural or renewable resources.
- Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
- Instruct college students in physical or life sciences.
- Research hydrologic features or processes.
- Research impacts of environmental conservation initiatives.
- Advise others about environmental management or conservation.
- Develop software or applications for scientific or technical use.
- Develop sustainable industrial or development methods.
- Prepare maps.
- Communicate results of environmental research.
- Measure environmental characteristics.
- Advise others on management of emergencies or hazardous situations or materials.
- Research geological features or processes.
- Locate natural resources using geospatial or other environmental data.
- Review plans or proposals for environmental conservation.
- Coordinate cross-disciplinary research programs.
- Determine methods to minimize environmental impact of activities.
- Electronic Mail — 88% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 75% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Telephone — 50% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 46% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 46% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 50% responded “Very important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 38% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Contact With Others — 50% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Letters and Memos — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 50% responded “Important results.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 54% responded “More than half the time.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 33% responded “High responsibility.”
- Level of Competition — 46% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Time Pressure — 42% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 42% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Consequence of Error — 33% responded “Very serious.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: IR
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$43.22 hourly, $89,910 annual|
|Employment (2014)||36,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Faster than average (9% to 13%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||15,000|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Geoscientists . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.
- American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) , P.O. Box 979, Tulsa, OK 74101. Phone: (800) 364-2274.
- American Geological Institute (AGI) , 4220 King St., Alexandria, VA 22302-1502. Phone: (703) 379-2480. Fax: (703) 379-7563.
- Marine Technology Society (MTS) , 5565 Sterrett Pl., Suite 108, Columbia, MD 21004. Phone: (410) 884-5330.