The Starting Salary Of A Geologist

Geologists can work for petroleum companies.

Geologists get to explore the various elements and physical aspects of the Earth. Those looking to work as a geologist need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in geology from an accredited college. Coursework focuses on geology, atmospheric science and various engineering concepts related to geological work. In addition, geologists learn to analyze various elements of the Earth, such as air and water, using various instruments.

Employment Options

Geologists can find work in a variety of industries. Notably, geologists work with local, state and federal government agencies. They analyze data and prepare studies to help officials weight the benefits or consequences related to actions being debated in legislature. Geologists can also work for engineering companies and environmental consulting organizations. Some common industries that employ geologists include the petroleum and mining industries.

Starting Salary

Entry-level geologists earn an average salary of $39,317 after completion of a bachelor’s degree, according to North Carolina State University. This starting salary puts entry-level geologists in the lowest 10 percent earnings wise for geoscientists. As of May 2008, the lowest 10 percent in the field earned under $41,700, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As with any starting salary expectations, they can be higher for those who exhibit exceptional academic performance or seek out internships while in college.

Advanced Degrees

Those going on to complete additional education, such as earning a master’s or doctorate degree, earn a higher average starting salary. Those with a master’s degree earn on average $50,169 annually, as of 2008, according to the UC Davis Geology Department. Geologists going on to earn doctoral degrees earned an average starting salary of $84,290 during the same time period.

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Other Salary Considerations

In addition to the variances that can occur because of the different degree levels attained, discrepancies in starting salary can occur depending on the type of work and industry a new graduate seeks employment with. Those entering the petroleum industry with a bachelor’s degree will earn an average salary of $62,000 annually. Mining industry geologists with the same level of education start at an average $38,500 to $40,000 annually. In the long-run, those working with oil and gas companies tend to earn more, but this industry is volatile.