Learn More About Careers in the Geosciences

Q: What is STEM?

A:  The STEM acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and is often used to describe the suite of academic disciplines necessary for achieving and maintaining high-tech and scientific careers.  The acronym also groups these academic disciplines to address the concerns that these subjects are often taught in isolation, instead of as an integrated curriculum.  More information about STEM can be found at http://www.ed.gov/stem and http://stemcareer.com.


Q: Why is STEM education important?

A: In the modern global economy, STEM education is closely linked with our nation’s economic prosperity.  The United States has become a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers and innovators. Yet today, that position is threatened as comparatively few American students pursue expertise in STEM fields.  Many believe that our nation must expand the capacity and diversity of the STEM workforce pipeline to prepare more students for the best jobs of the future that will keep the U.S. innovative, secure and competitive.  In 2010, President Barack Obama set a priority to increase the number of students and teachers who are proficient in these vital fields.  Information and statistics from:https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-expands-educate-innovate-campaign-excellence-science-technology-eng.

Geoscientists study all aspects of our planet and we’ve written a special FAQ about the Geosciences.  Be sure to take a look at our page listing all possible sub-disciplines in the Geosciences to see what interests you most!


The median annual wage for geoscientists was $89,850 in 2017 .

Job Outlook

Employment of geoscientists is projected to grow 10-14 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. The need for energy, environmental protection, and responsible land and resource management is projected to spur demand for geoscientists in the future.

Want to know more? Check out this great website all about different Geoscience Careers at the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College!

Jobs: BA or BS Required

  • City & state environmental and natural resource regulators
  • Public school earth science teachers
  • Government GIS technicians & analysts
  • Broadcast, government, and private-sector meteorologists
  • Soil testing, hydrologic, oil and gas, meteorological, and geospatial technicians
  • Consultants (with previous government/private sector experience)
  • Park ranger or naturalist
  • Well-site or mine geologist
  • Pollution cleanup specialist
  • Geospatial technician or technologist
  • Petroleum geoscientist


Jobs: Masters Required

  • City & state environmental and natural resource regulators & scientists
  • Government & private sector geospatial analysts
  • State geological and climatological survey geoscientists,
  • Engineering & environmental consulting firm scientists
  • Private school science teachers/administrators
  • Federal, state, and private sector research scientists
  • NWS forecaster, state and federal climatologists
  • Community college professors


Jobs: PhD Likely Required

  • College & university professors
  • University, federal, and state researchers
  • Environmental & energy consultants, including policy consultants
  • State government technical specialists
  • U.S. & state geological survey researchers
  • NWS Science Operations Officer (SOO), state or federal climatologist
  • Engineering and environmental consulting firm scientists
  • Textbook editors & science writers



Learn more about geoscientists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.


View the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) report “Status of Recent Geoscience Graduates.”

2015 Median Annual Salaries for Geoscience-Related Occupations from the American Geosciences Institute