Employment of geoscientists is projected to grow by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. The need for energy, environmental protection, and responsible land and resource management will spur demand for geoscientists in the future. Most new jobs will be in management, scientific, and technical consulting services as more geoscientists are hired as consultants.
Job opportunities should be excellent for geoscientists who graduate with a master’s degree. In addition to job growth, many geoscientists are approaching retirement age and a large number of openings are expected as those geoscientists leave the workforce.
Geoscientists with a doctoral degree will likely face competition for positions in academia and research.
Many openings are expected in consulting firms and the oil and gas industry. Historically, when oil and natural gas prices are low, companies limit exploration and hire fewer geoscientists. When prices are high, however, companies explore and extract more. If oil prices remain high over the long run, the demand for geoscientists will remain high as well.
Fewer opportunities are expected in state and federal government than in the past. Budget constraints are expected to limit hiring by state governments and federal agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey. Further, more of the work traditionally done by government agencies is expected to be contracted out to consulting firms in the future.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition