Career Detail

Help to search for natural resources such as groundwater, metals, and petroleum. Others work closely with environmental and other scientists to preserve and clean up the environment.
Average Pay: $79,160    Qualifications: Bachelor's degree or higher
The Job
They try to find out how rocks were formed and what has happened to them since their formation. They also study the evolution of life by analyzing plant and animal fossils. Geophysicists use the principles of physics, mathematics, and chemistry to study not only the Earth's surface, but also its internal composition, ground and surface waters, atmosphere, oceans, and magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces.
Work Environment
Spend a large part of their time in the field, identifying and examining rocks, studying information collected by remote sensing instruments in satellites, conducting geological surveys.
College Majors
master's degree
Minimum Qualifications
A master's degree is the primary educational requirement for most entry-level positions.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Must have good interpersonal skills because they usually work as part of a team with other geoscientists and with environmental scientists, engineers, and technicians.
Quick Facts
  • Work at remote field sites is common.
  • Federal, State, and local governments employ 18 percent of all geoscientists.
  • Employers prefer applicants with a master's degree for most positions; a Ph.D. degree is required for most high-level research and college teaching positions.
  • Excellent job opportunities are expected for graduates with a master's degree.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of geoscientists were $79,160 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $54,470 and $113,390; the lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,700, and the highest 10 percent more than $155,430.
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