Geologists are employed in many sectors, such as environmental consulting companies, oil companies, governmental agencies, engineering firms and nonprofit organizations, as well as colleges and universities. Salaries vary widely among sectors.
The oil sector and the mineral resource sector are both willing to pay handsome salaries to new geologists. However, a large number of geologists choose to work in the environmental and government sectors, and these employers tend to pay 10% to 40% less because they are not in such a demand-driven market. Having said that, employment in the environmental and government sectors is often more stable than the prices of commodities.
Geologists with a Ph.D. can teach geology at colleges and universities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a college professor of geology is $83,140, with the bottom 10 percentile making $42,590 and the top 10 percentile making $152,270. Colleges and universities pay an average of $92,850, while community colleges pay an average of $87,200.