If you are the kind of person who is generally interested in the science behind our beautiful planet and have always been interested in diving deeper into your knowledge and understanding of the Earth, it may be in your best interest to pursue a career in geosciences. Not only do geoscience careers carry an element of excitement and adventure, but they also tend to pay well, even for more entry-level positions in the geoscience field.

Apart from being some of the most lucrative and interesting careers out there, the geoscience industries are largely focused on gaining a better understanding of how our planet’s complex environmental systems work in hopes of better preserving it for future generations. Let’s take a look at some of the top careers in the geosciences and see what it takes to succeed at these exciting jobs.

What do Geoscientists Do?

Before we talk about individual careers in geoscience disciplines, let’s go over what a geoscientist does in the broader sense. Though careers in geoscience can vary greatly from one concentration to another, virtually all of the estimated 31,800 people who hold jobs in these disciplines work in states that have an abundance of oil and gas activity. According to Mount Sopris Instruments, there is a surprising amount of diversity in the geoscience careers. While some geoscience employees, such as workers in natural resource extraction fields, tend to work in a team, other geoscientists and engineers fly solo, splitting their time between fieldwork, laboratory time, and office hours.

Because fieldwork can take geoscientists all over the world, people who are looking into careers in the geoscience industries should be open to travel, particularly to remote locations across the globe. Oceanographers, for example, may find themselves aboard a research ship for months at a time, while petroleum geologists’ exploration activities may transport them to some of the least-populated regions on Earth. As exciting and adventurous as the lifestyle of a geoscientist sounds, it is essential that people understand the extensive amount of necessary travel involved before embarking on a career path in geoscience.

Top Geoscience Careers for 2021

So many diverse and exciting careers fall into the geoscience category that the possibilities for young scientists and engineers are nearly limitless! Here are some of the most lucrative, fulfilling, and exciting geoscience careers for 2021 and beyond.

Environmental Consultant

With new challenges posed by climate change and other potential crises that can negatively impact the health of our planet, environmental issues are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. An environmental consultant helps examine these issues and recommend policies to put into place in order to help preserve and protect our environment. As employees of a government or a business, environmental consultants often perform assessments based on current waste management practices, as well as study levels of contamination in the air, water, and soil. Based on their findings, the environmental consultant will create a report detailing any issues they have uncovered, along with potential solutions for mitigating them in the future.

Seismic Interpreter

If you’re looking for a career that’s off the beaten path, you can’t get much more outside-the-box than being a seismic interpreter! By sending sound energy pulses through layers of rock, seismic interpreters determine the composition of the earth, as well as gain a better understanding of the strength of the rocks. Seismic interpreters use 4D, 3D, and 2D models to show the types of formations under the ground and their depth. Since this information is particularly useful in performing environmental assessments that could affect future operations, seismic interpreters are often hired by mineral or energy companies.

Engineering Geologist

In order to ensure that geological factors do not get in the way of engineering projects, engineering geologists work on construction projects to assess the conditions of nearby rocks, minerals, and groundwater. This examination helps to determine whether the area that is near a construction site is too sensitive for development. Engineering geologists may work with geological maps to analyze these factors, as well as to manage and supervise workers on the construction site.

Wellsite Geologist

A wellsite geologist’s expertise lies in identifying and analyzing rock cuttings taken from wells. Using their extensive knowledge in this area, a wellsite geologist can let oil and gas companies know how deep to drill in a particular area. This information is critical to all those involved at a drilling site and can have a serious impact on oil workers’ safety, as well as that of the environment.

Chemical Engineer

A chemical engineer applies the principles of chemistry, math, physics, and biology to help develop and design chemical manufacturing processes. A large part of a chemical engineer’s role is to provide solutions for safe, effective production or use of food, drugs, chemicals, and a number of other everyday items. By designing and troubleshooting processes for manufacturing corporations, chemical engineers can ensure improved production methods that not only increase efficiency and output but also promote safety of workers as well as the population at large.

Geological Oceanographer

If you’ve always been fascinated by what lies beneath the vast mysteriousness of the ocean, you may find a great deal of success and fulfillment as a geological oceanographer. These geoscientists explore the ocean floor, as well as study the processes that form underwater valleys, canyons, and mountains, such as plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading, to gain a better understanding of how the earth was formed.

While not all careers in the geoscience disciplines require a college degree, a number of them can be more readily obtained with a Bachelor’s degree or higher in geology, geoscience, or a number of other science-related majors. By knowing the specific requirements for your chosen geoscience career, you can begin to create a plan for achieving your goal and putting yourself on a path that excites and motivates you while providing a benefit to the earth. Once you are able to thoroughly examine the broad range of available geoscience career opportunities out there, you’ll be able to hit on just the right fit for your areas of interest as well as your education and experience.