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Environmental Geologist

Environmental geologists study the interaction between the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and human activities. They work to solve problems associated with pollution, waste management, urbanization, and natural hazards, such as flooding and erosion.



Since the 1970's the environmental industry has seen a strong growth in the number of geoscientists employed. As public awareness grew and the associated increase in environmental regulation, the need for environmental geoscientists has increased. Many geoscientists working in the environmental fields deal with issues of water, both surface waters and groundwater. These efforts with water deal both with management issues as well as water quality issues - giving the geoscientist a unique role as steward of our water resources.

Other geoscientists work with soils, managing this critical resource for the sustainability of agriculture. Natural hazards, such as landslides, is another major area of concern for environmental geoscientists. Though many environmental geoscientists work in private industry, particularly in environmental consulting firms, many work in all levels of government.


Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree in environmental science or geology is the minimum requirement for entry-level jobs in environmental geology. However, master's degrees are the preferred credential, particularly if you'd like to work for state or federal government agencies or perform research in the private sector.


Mean Salary 2010

As part of its national survey of employment conducted in May 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics included environmental geologists in a category alongside other professionals working in the geoscience field, such as seismologists, geodesists and volcanologists. It calculated that the mean annual salary across the professional area was $93,380.


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Information retrieved from American Geosciences Institute: Geoscience Careers Brochure, Career Cornerstone Center: Geosciences, Bureau of Labor Statistics: Geoscientists and How Do I Become an Environmental Geologist?.

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