Geologists in the energy sector are responsible for powering our world and provide us with the light, heat, electricity and transportation that the modern world depends on. The largest employers are still petroleum and natural gas companies, however renewable energy (e.g. wind, solar, geothermal) is a fast-growing area of employment for geologists. Jobs include field-based, research & development and business positions. Many of the field-based and research & development positions involve travel and focus on the maintenance, characterization and description of energy resources. Managerial and business positions focus on managing research teams and making decisions about the economic viability of developing potential energy resources.
The size and nature of the company ranges from large corporations with hundreds of geologists on staff to small family owned companies with one or two geologists on staff.
- Entry-level positions only require a bachelor’s degree in geology
- Average starting salaries are ~$90,000.
Erin Wagner (‘13) - Geologist, ExxonMobil
"My favorite part is getting to do science every single day, and actually be making discoveries of things that were unknown before. A lot of the time, when we drill in these frontier areas, we’re collecting geology data that’s not just related to the oil industry, but also our fundamental understanding of how rocks are deposited and how they react to conditions in the subsurface. We learn new things the deeper we drill, every single time, and a lot of the geology textbooks, the information that’s in them, was actually discovered by oil industry activity."