Earth and Planetary Sciences

The list below contains a sample of some of the common career paths chosen by earth science majors. The skills you develop as an undergraduate (communication, analytical/problem solving, and technical) may be used in many different occupations. However, most earth science majors tend to seek work in the field of science.

COMMON CAREER PATHS:

Geotechnical 
Soil testing 
Construction site analysis 
Earthquakes
Coastal management 

Environmental 
Climate 
Water resources 
Water and air pollution 
Waste disposal 

Energy and Minerals 
Research 
Exploration 
Production 
Storage and waste 
Geothermal

Ocean
Ocean chemistry and ecology
Marine and coastal resource management
Planetary
Spacecraft missions
Space industry
Planetary data analysis

Government
Mapping
Resource evaluation
Hazard assessment
Conservation studies

Teaching
High School
Community College
University

SAMPLE EMPLOYERS:

Government 
Bureau of Mines 
Office of Surface Mining 
Department of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency 
Bureau of Outdoor Recreation
Bureau of Land Management 
U.S. Geological Survey
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin. 
Department of Defense
Nuclear Regulatory Agency 
Bureau of Reclamation
National Aeronautics and Space Admin. 
National Park Service 

Petroleum and Natural Gas Companies

Hard-Rock Mining Companies

Coal Companies

Railroad Companies

Consulting Engineering Firms

Construction Companies

High Schools, Colleges and Universities

Nonprofit Organizations (e.g., Sierra Club)

JOB WEBSITES:

Earth Science World 
InfoOil Careers 
Geotimes 
Geology Jobs (extensive list of web sites)
Earth Works 
CSI Recruiting
Oil and Gas 
Government

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: (includes job opportunities)

American Geological Institute
American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Geological Society of America 
American Geophysical Union 
Society of Exploration Geophysicists
American Congress on Surveying and Mapping 
American Geographical Society 
American Meteorological Society

JOB PREPARATION STRATEGIES:

  • Develop public speaking skills and writing skills
  • Obtain lab and field experience via coursework and internships
  • Take a course in mapping and surveying, obtain GIS experience (ES 107)
  • Develop strong computer skills
  • Obtain an internship, summer or volunteer work in different geological fields (ES 98, 188, 198)
  • Learn about federal, state and local government job applications process
  • Join a student branch of a professional association