A mining geologist, also referred to as a geological or mining safety engineer, is a geoscientist that studies the earth’s components to determine how and where to mine for rocks and other minerals such as coal and stones. In May 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported estimated wages based on 6,310 mining, geological and mining safety engineers employed in the United States.
Most geoscientists are required to have at least a master’s degree, but occupations related to research typically require a doctoral degree. Mining geologists who offer services directly to the public are required to obtain a license to practice professionally in many states.
According to the BLS, the median annual salary was $79,440 for this occupation as of 2009. The 10th percentile earned $48,400 and the 90th percentile earned $119,300 per year. The median hourly wage was $38.19. The 10th percentile earned $23.27 per hour and the 90th percentile earned $57.36 per hour.
Mining geologists can work in a variety of industries including coal mining, metal mining, oil and gas extraction, government agencies, and architectural, engineering and related services. The highest levels of employment were reported in architectural and engineering services (1,800 jobs) where mining geologists earned annual mean wages of $77,210. The highest wages were reported in the oil and gas extraction industry, where mining geologists earned annual mean wages of $97,140.
Mining geologists can be found in the United States in areas with mountainous regions and states that require finding new mineral resources. The highest concentration of workers were found in Wyoming, West Virginia, Alaska, Colorado and Nevada. In Wyoming, which has 7.92 mining geologist for 10,000 workers, these professionals earn annual mean wages of $86,040 per year. In Alaska, the annual mean wages were estimated at $95,200. The top paying states for this occupation were California, Texas and Alaska. In California, annual mean wages were $97,760 and in Texas $96,130.