Geologists study the structure, composition and history of the earth, especially the
crust. As a geologist, you might examine rocks and minerals to identify the natural
processes affecting the earth and explore for resources such as gas and oil deposits.
You also might study fossil remains of plants and animals or examine the effects of
wind, water, earthquakes or volcanoes on landforms.
Representative Job Titles and Areas of Specialization
|Curator-Natural History Museum
|Environmental Impact Report Writer
|Geothermal Energy Specialist
|Ground Water Geologist
Nature of the Work
Geologists typically specialize in one of three general areas:
- Economic geologists locate earth materials such as minerals and solid fuels.
- Petroleum geologists attempt to locate oil and natural gas deposits below the earth's
- Engineering geologists evaluate sites for construction of buildings, highways, airports,
tunnels, dams and other structures. They also study the flow of groundwater and pollution
Most geologists divide their time among field work, where they collect samples or
measure strata, laboratory work, where they analyze samples and data or conduct experiments,
and the office where they write reports or draft maps and diagrams showing the results
of their studies.
Places of Employment
||National oceanic and atmospheric agencies
|Cement, chemical and ceramic companies
|Colleges and universities
||National Park Service
|Construction and engineering firms
||Soil conservation service
|Federal agencies including:
||Geological and geophysical consulting firms
|Army Corps of Engineers
|Bureau of Land Management
||Independent environmental assessment firms
|Bureau of Mines
||Independent oil operators
|Bureau of Reclamation
||Mining and quarrying companies
|Department of Energy
|Environmental Protection Agency
||Non-profit research institutions
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration
||State geological surveys
|Water quality/resource boards
Some entry-level geology careers only require a bachelor's degree. Better jobs with
opportunities for advancement usually require a master's degree. If you want to be
a research geologist, then you should pursue a Ph.D.
For further information and/or career counseling contact the UCR Career Center, (951)
The following documents may provide further ideas for exploration.