At present, mankind and our planet are facing many challenges due to climate change and related factors. Depleting energy sources and increasing environmental concerns are causing a lot of headaches for all countries across the world. This has created enhanced career opportunities for geologists and earth scientists to satisfy society’s demands for natural resources while maintaining Earth’s natural environments.
Earth scientists and geologists play a key role in efforts to resolve the climate and energy-related issues. But, what exactly is earth sciences? What are the career opportunities in the field of earth sciences? In this post, we will look at careers and jobs in geology and earth sciences.
Careers and Jobs in Geology and Earth Sciences
Career Scopes, Top Colleges & Universities, Jobs & Salaries and Top Countries with Skill Shortage
Co-authored by Parinita Gupta
What is Earth Sciences?
Earth Science is the study of the Earth and its neighbors in space. It is an exciting science with many interesting and practical applications.
Earth sciences combine physics, chemistry and biology with geology, geography, and paleontology to answer fundamental questions about the origin, development, and future of the Earth.
One section of Earth scientists uses their knowledge of the Earth to locate and develop energy and mineral resources. Others study the impact of human activity on the Earth’s environment, and design methods to protect the planet. A few earth scientists use their knowledge about Earth processes such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes to plan communities that will not expose people to these dangerous events.
4 Core Areas of Earth Sciences
Geology: Science of Earth
Geology is the study of the Earth, the materials of which it is made, the structure of those materials, and the processes acting upon them. It includes the study of organisms that have inhabited our planet. An important part of geology is the study of how Earth’s materials, structures, processes, and organisms have changed over time.
Geologists search for fuels and minerals, study natural hazards, and work to protect Earth’s environment. Additionally, geologists work to understand the history of our planet. The better they can understand Earth’s history, the better they can foresee how events and processes of the past might influence the future.
Geology is a multidisciplinary field which consists of sub-disciplines and sections such as geoinformatics, mineralogy, petrology, astrogeology, stratigraphy, hydrogeology, sediment logy, seismology, volcanology, geomorphology, crystallography, gemmology, oceanography, geophysics, geochemistry, and economic geology.
Meteorology: Science of the Atmosphere
Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics, with a major focus on weather forecasting.
Meteorology is a very practical science because everyone is concerned about the weather. How climate changes over time in response to the actions of people is a topic of urgent worldwide concern. The study of meteorology is of critical importance in protecting the Earth’s environment.
Oceanography: Science of the Oceans
The oceans cover most of our planet and are important resources for food and other commodities. They are increasingly being used as an energy source. The oceans also have a major influence on the weather, and changes in the oceans can drive or moderate climate change.
Oceanography is the study of all aspects of the ocean. Oceanography covers a wide range of topics, from marine life and ecosystems to currents and waves, to the movement of sediments, to seafloor geology.
The study of oceanography is interdisciplinary. The ocean’s properties and processes function together and cannot be examined separately from one another. The chemical composition of water, for example, influences what types of organisms live there. In turn, organisms provide sediments to the geology of the seafloor. Oceanographers must have a broad understanding of these relationships to research specific topics or subdisciplines like Marine Biology etc.
Astronomy: Science of the Universe
Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial objects (stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earth’s atmosphere (such as the cosmic background radiation). Astronomy applies the principles of physics, chemistry, meteorology, mathematics to explain the origin of those celestial (or heavenly) objects, phenomena and their evolution (or origin).
Here are some examples of why studying space beyond Earth is important: the moon drives the ocean’s tidal system, asteroid impacts have repeatedly devastated Earth’s inhabitants, and energy from the sun drives our weather and climates. A knowledge of astronomy is essential to understanding the Earth. Astronomers can also use knowledge of Earth materials, processes and history to understand other planets – even those outside of our own solar system.
Why Study Earth Sciences?
Earth Science plays a unique and essential role in today’s rapidly changing world. It is an integrated study of the Earth’s history, composition, and structure, its atmosphere and oceans, and its environment in space.
Today we live in a time when the Earth and its inhabitants face many challenges. Our climate is changing, and that change is being caused by human activity.
Earth scientists recognized this problem and will play a key role in efforts to resolve it. They work to
- develop new sources of energy that will have minimal impact on climate;
- locate new sources of metals and other mineral resources as known sources are depleted
- determine how Earth’s increasing population can live and avoid serious threats such as volcanic activity, earthquakes, landslides, floods and more.
These are just a few of the problems where solutions depend upon a deep understanding of Earth science.
Earth Science is a laboratory and activity-oriented field. Earth Science integrates many principles of both physical and life sciences. It incorporates and presents concepts often not emphasized in other parts of the science curriculum, such as geologic time and the vastness of space. The teaching of Earth Science allows all students to have a better science background with pertinent information about their surroundings.
Careers in Geology and Earth Sciences
Geology is a profession that brings opportunities to move from a country to another, advancing great employment prospects. The employment forecast is excellent for geology and earth science graduates. Decreasing energy, mineral and water resources and increasing environmental concerns present challenges to our society.
This has created enhanced career opportunities for earth scientists to satisfy society’s demands for natural resources while maintaining Earth’s natural environments.
“The Study of Earth Sciences is highly application-oriented and lucrative. In the age of increasing demand for energy, knowledge of earth sciences, aided with the advanced searched methods, provides a chance to explore the once unknown and difficult sources for coal and petroleum, automatic minerals and geothermal energy.” –– T.K. Biswal, HOD, Dept. of Earth Sciences, IIT Bombay
Career Scopes in India and Abroad
Earth science is a vast subject and deals with everything related to earth. Since it is the most common subject worldwide, it has more scope and demand. Its role mainly deals with environmental protection, resource management, mineral, and oil exploration and many other similar roles.
A geologist is a trained professional who studies the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth. The main task includes the exploration of earth research, gathering the samples, operating the geological equipment and instruments, fieldwork, data analysis and processing, research and development etc.
They also use numerous tools and equipment to perform various tasks. From traditional tools like Magnifying glasses, gloves, rubber boots, axes, hammers, compass, and mining tools to Modern tools like Modern drilling tools, GPS systems, Drones, CAD, and Computerized Visualization systems.
Also, software like imaging software, mapping software, Remote sensing and GIS are used by the geologists to Survey the location, mapping, imaging surface, collecting data and samples, data analysis, data processing, and report and many other tasks.
In India, we can see the geologists and earth science specialist’s work in the organizations like Central Ground Water Board and the Geological Survey of India, Coal India, Oil & Natural Gas Corporation, Mineral Exploration Authority, Hindustan Zinc Defence and other Paramilitary forces, where their roles specifically deal with the environment.
Apart from these students who have a degree in geology and earth science also becomes Geographers, Oceanographers, Geologists, Meteorologists, Seismologist, Completions Technologist, Processing Geophysicist, Researchers, etc. There are also chances to become a geologist and geophysicist, engineering and environmental geologist or government scientist for U.S. Geological Survey, NOAA, NASA in the US.
Geology and Earth Sciences Skill Shortages in Foreign Countries
If you are looking for PR and immigration in foreign countries, a degree in Earth Sciences, Geology, and related subjects would be very beneficial. Mining exploration budgets are on the rise around the world and geologist are in hot demand.
Here is the list of countries with the skill shortage in the field of Geology and related areas:
- Canada: Geoscientists, Geological Engineers, Oceanographers, Meteorologists, and Climatologists
- Australia: Geotechnical Engineers, Environmental Engineers
- New Zealand: Geologist, Geology Researcher, Earth Science Technician
- UK: Geologist, Geoscientist, Geophysicist, Geochemist, Geotechnical Engineer
Geology and Earth Sciences Jobs
Irrespective to the country, every department needs a Geology and Earth Science scientist and research analysts.
Top Job Profiles
Engineering Geologists – Engineering Geologists investigates the site before any foundation or earthworks are started for a very large civil engineering project begins. Environmental Geologists are concerned with the issues related to the disposal of waste of all its types which evaluate the environmental impact of the construction projects.
Geo-Hydrologists take care of the water. They asses and analyze the sources and identify the threats to eliminate water pollution. They play a crucial role in the construction of reservoirs.
Geomorphologists – It is a study related to erosion and glaciations. They study the process of erosion and glaciations and takes necessary remediation to eliminate the issue.
Hydrologists and Mineralogists are responsible for identifying, measuring and analyze the source of water and minerals. Mineralogist analyzes the minerals and precious stones in rocks and mineral and determines its usage in various industries.
Marine Geologists is a role who studies the physical aspects of the oceans and its current streams.
Petroleum Geologists is a very important and most demanding job role. They conduct the tests and locate the presence of the natural gas, and oil deposits both onshore and offshore sites.
Paleontologists study ancient fossils. They help in tracing the evolution of plant and animal life and estimate their existence on the earth.
Seismologists are a job role where they interpret the data of the earth tectonic moments and identify the earthquakes and earthquakes prove areas.
Stratigraphers are the study of distribution and arrangement of sedimentary rock layers of both land and the sea. They help us in understanding and having the knowledge of the layers and it’s a distribution of 5he land and sea.
Geologists– It is the most common role where the jobs main prospect is to teach and carry out academic research in universities and colleges.
Apart from these job prospects, there are some specific job roles which are designed to meet up the industry demands like
- Environmental consultant
- Remote sensing Specialist
- Groundwater specialist
- Mining or marine engineer
- Environmental scientist
- Marine geologist
- Petroleum Engineer
- Environmental lawyer
How to make a career in Geology and Earth Science
The Geology and Earth science aspirant need to complete their 10+2 examination from any stream and should have a bachelor’s degree in Geology from any University. Institutes like IISER also provides 5-year dual BS-MS degree in Earth Sciences.
To pursue PG, aspirants have to clear GATE, a national level entrance exam to get admission in top universities of India. In India, The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Geologist exam to fill the roles in Central Government Agencies.
After completing BSC in Geology, an aspirant can either join as a junior geologist or can continue his /her further studies. M. Sc. in Geology, M. Sc in Earth Science or Applied Geology is one of the best PG course available for graduates and can take the specializations in the well-known subjects like
- Marine Geology
- Mining Engineering
Having a specialization in one of the subjects will help you in fetching the highest position at a later stage of career.
Courses available: Three to four years of course duration; Bachelor of Science (B. Sc) in Geology, Earth science, Environmental science Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Geology Bachelor of Arts (B. A) in Geology, Earth science, Environmental science
Top Employers in India for Geology and Earth Sciences Graduates
Many geology graduates take professions directly related to their degree. Many Private companies and Government enterprises who are directly involved in activities like mineral exploration, mineral mining, mineral production, mineral extraction, oil and natural gas exploration, oil and natural gas extraction etc hire the graduates for the exploration and production, water supply, environmental engineering, and geological surveying Some well-known Government sector recruiters include –
- GSI (Geological Survey of India)
- ONGC SAIL Coal India
- GMDC (Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation)
- Government operated Quarries
- BPCL OIL
- National Mineral Development Corporation
- Odisha Mining Corporation
- Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals
- Tamil Nadu Minerals Limited
Top Colleges for Geology and Earth Sciences in India
- North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon (Maharashtra)
- Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University, Amravati (Maharashtra)
- Presidency University, Kolkata (West Bengal)
- Hansraj College, New Delhi (Delhi)
- St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai (Maharashtra)
- Indian Institute of Science, Education, and Research (IISER), Kolkata (West Bengal)
- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay), Mumbai (Maharashtra)
- Fergusson College, Pune (Maharashtra)
- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Kharagpur), (West Bengal)
- The University of Pune, Pune (Maharashtra)
- Presidency College, Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
- Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
- Indian Institute of Technology, (IIT Roorkee) (Uttarakhand)
- Government Arts College – Dharmapuri (Tamil Nadu)
- National Institute of Technology (NITRR), Raipur (Chhattisgarh)
- The University of North Bengal, Darjeeling (West Bengal)
Top Universities for Geology and Earth Sciences Abroad
- California Institute of Technology
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Stanford University
- University of California–Berkeley
- Columbia University
- Pennsylvania State University–University Park
- University of Texas–Austin
- Harvard University
- University of Arizona
- Princeton University
- University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
- University of Washington
- University of California–San Diego
- University of California–Santa Barbara
- University of Toronto
- University of British Columbia
- University of Alberta
- McGill University
- University of Victoria
- Dalhousie University
- University of Waterloo
- University of Ottawa
- Carleton University
- ETH Zurich
- University of Oxford
- University of Cambridge
- University of Leeds
- University of Bristol
- Utrecht University
- Imperial College London
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Bergen
- University of Oslo
- TU Delft
- University of Copenhagen
- LMU Munich
- Lund University
- University of Manchester
- Stockholm University
- Durham University
- University of Tokyo
- Australian National University
- University of Hong Kong
- Peking University
- University of Melbourne
- China University of Geosciences
- Kyoto University
- University of Western Australia
- Nanyang Technological University
- University of New South Wales
- Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Polytechnic University
- Monash University
- James Cook University
- University of Auckland
- University of Otago
Salaries for Geology and Earth Sciences Graduates
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, geology, and earth science is an Industry which is expected to grow more in the next 5 years. It is more than the average percentage which is expected higher growth in pay scale in comparison to all other occupations.
A geologist who starts their careers as a fresher will earn. 10,000 – 20,000 per month which is tended to increase with time and experience. On average the scale of a geologist or any job prospect related to geology and earth science will be able to earn. 2.5 Lakh to Rs. 3.5 Lacs per annum in both private and public sector.
In foreign countries, the median salary for a Geologist is $91,920. There is a better scope of earning in government, education, and research-oriented job profiles. Within academia, PhD students and Postdocs can earn $40,000 to $70,000 per year.
Featured Image Source: Malawi University of Science and Technology