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Careers & Jobs

Geoscientists held about 28,000 jobs in the U.S in 2002 and many more individuals held environmental science and geoscience faculty positions in colleges and universities. Among geoscientists, 30 percent were employed in architectural, engineering, and related services, and 15 percent worked for oil and gas extraction companies. In 2002, the Federal Government employed about 3,000 geoscientists, including geologists, geophysicists, and oceanographers, mostly within the U.S. Department of the Interior for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and within the U.S. Department of Defense. Another 3,400 worked for State agencies, such as State geological surveys and State departments of conservation. Nearly 3 percent of geoscientists were self-employed, most as consultants to industry or government.

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Environmental Scientists and Geoscientists)

Interview with alumna Margot Swank, BS Geophysics '14, now at midsize oil company Repsol.

Alumna Geeta Persad, BS Geophysics '10, now a graduate student at Princeton University.


Who Hires Geophysicists?

Geophysicists may work for several kinds of employers such as companies involved in field acquisition and data processing related to natural resource exploration, engineering companies, universities and colleges, data management firms, the government and NASA.

Petroleum Geophysicists

Employers of petroleum geophysicists include:

  • oil and gas companies
  • seismic data processing firms
  • seismic contractors
  • well-logging companies
  • computer companies (software & hardware)
  • research firms
  • universities
  • government agencies
  • geophysical equipment companies

Environmental Geophysicists

Jobs for environmental geophysicists are found mainly in:

  • integrated environmental firms
  • mining companies
  • engineering firms
  • mining consulting companies

Mining Geophysicists

Employment opportunities in this area exist in:

  • mining companies
  • consulting mining engineering firms
  • mapping service companies
  • instrument manufacture & development firms