Geologist Job Outlook

There are currently an estimated 32,000 Geologists in the United States. The Geologist job market is expected to grow by 14.1% between 2016 and 2026.

Geologist Employability Rating

C Sokanu rates Geologists with a C employability rating, meaning this career should provide moderate employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 11,400 Geologists. That number is based on 4,500 additional Geologists, and the retirement of 6,900 existing Geologists.

Demand for Geologists

Despite the downturn in the mineral resources sector, the long-term job outlook for geologists is positive. In fact, the number of new geology graduates is not projected to meet expected needs. Demand in the field is cyclical and mirrors the price of geological commodities such as fuels, metals, and construction materials. While lower prices for some of these commodities have resulted in layoffs, those same low prices support demand. In addition, geologist jobs exist outside of the resource sector, as well. Governments concerned about pollution and climate change; educational organizations; and environmental consulting firms all present stable opportunities for new entrants, even though salaries in these occupational segments tend to be lower because they are not driven by commodity prices. Engineering geologist jobs in ‘green energy,’ to plan for and identify geologically acceptable locations for the construction of wind farms, geothermal power facilities, and solar power plants, are predicted to be in particular demand. Further opportunities are forecasted with the retirement of many baby boomer geologists who entered the oil and gas industry in the 1970s, during a period of high salaries. Specialists in geochemistry, knowledgeable in oil extraction methods from shale, could land lucrative jobs with oil companies. It is not uncommon for well-trained geologists to secure jobs or temporary contracts outside of their home nations, as many companies recruit internationally. Expertise in mineralogy can lead to jobs in the new technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Professional geologists are expected to hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in geoscience and have field, laboratory, and internship experience.

Supply of Geologists

The Geologist industry is concentrated in Texas, California, and Colorado.

Geologist Job Market by State

State name Employed Geologists
Texas 7,780
California 3,650
Colorado 1,900
Washington 1,030
Pennsylvania 1,000
Oklahoma 990
Louisiana 910
Florida 740
New York 730
Nevada 640
North Carolina 520
Alaska 450
Maryland 440
Arizona 400
Indiana 370
Virginia 370
Michigan 360
Ohio 350
Mississippi 350
Oregon 340
Georgia 320
New Jersey 300
New Mexico 300
Kansas 300
Illinois 280
Montana 270
Alabama 260
Utah 250
Massachusetts 250
Missouri 240
Minnesota 240
South Carolina 230
Kentucky 200
Tennessee 190
Wyoming 180
Connecticut 160
West Virginia 150
Rhode Island 130
New Hampshire 120
Hawaii 110
Maine 100
Arkansas 90
Wisconsin 80
Idaho 80
Nebraska 60
Iowa 60
District of Columbia 60
Delaware 50
South Dakota 50
North Dakota 40
Vermont 40

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