Geology Careers


Geology is a multidisciplinary field that includes applications of math, physics, chemistry, and computational skills to gain a better understanding of the Earth and its environment, so it is a great program that prepares students for a wide range of careers in industry, non-profit organizations, academia, education, policy, and government. Most geoscience employers value a mix of skills including computational/GIS experience, laboratory and analytical experience, and field experience.

What you do in a geoscience job will vary based on the position and job sector. For example, geoscience jobs in the geotechnical and environmental fields can include gathering and portraying spatial information for a site in GIS, working with biologists to characterize wetland areas, collecting samples from soil and groundwater, ensuring compliance with environmental regulations, communicating scientific information to stakeholders, operating field equipment, and creating work plans related to health, safety and field work. Other geoscience jobs can be more focused on collecting data in the field using either geological or geophysical methods, interpreting remote sensing data, and interpreting data to produce geological reports and maps. 

The balance of field and office work required for a geoscience job will also depend on the position. Some jobs may involve a significant amount of field work and travel, which may require the applicant to have a driver's license (and a fair driving record), the ability to lift heavy items, the ability to walk across rough terrain in all weather conditions, and the ability to work independently in remote locations. Other geoscience jobs may consist entirely of lab and office work with an option to telework. Students are encouraged to research geoscience jobs and read different job descriptions to get a sense of what they would do on a daily basis and what other qualifications they may need. 

Geoscience students can further their education and expertise by completing a Masters or PhD in Geology, or they can seek entry level positions upon graduating with their undergraduate degree. Obtaining a professional geological license through the state (where applicable) is another option to further advance your geoscience career. Continue reading for information about geological licensing in Washington State! 

Visit the links below to learn more about the different career opportunities in the geosciences! 


Outlook & Pay

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Geoscientists is projected to grow at the rate of 5% from 2022-2032 (faster than the average rate for all occupations).

The need for geologists is evident by their presence in every sector, including government agencies, non-profit, private industry, environmental conservation, policy, and academia/education. Geologists will continue to be in demand as the need for energy, environmental protection, and responsible land and resource management continues.

The median pay for geoscientists as of May 2022 was $87,480. The top five highest paying industries are:

  1. Federal government
  2. Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction
  3. Architectural, engineering, and related services
  4. State government (excluding education and hospitals) 
  5. Management, scientific, and technical consulting services

For more information about the Geoscientist career outlook, please visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Getting Professionally Licensed

Geologist License Education Requirements 

A professional license is required by law to practice geology in Washington State. The first step toward licensure is passing the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) Fundamentals of Geology exam. To qualify to take ASBOG’s Fundamentals of Geology exam you must satisfy certain educational requirements. These requirements are a degree in the Geosciences (Geology BA, BS, or Geophysics BS), which must include at least 36 credits of upper-division geology courses, with at least 21 of those credits including courses in Mineralogy, Petrology, Earth Materials, Economic Geology, Engineering Geology, Field Camp (field mapping), Geomorphology, Geophysics, Geochemistry, Hydrogeology, Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Structural Geology. Please consult your departmental advisor to ensure your plan of study will meet these requirements.

Some licensed geologists also work in the areas of hydrogeology and engineering geology. To best prepare for these professions choose your geology electives from the following GEOL courses: 314, 412, 413, 430, 440, 452, 470, 472, 473, or 474.    

Career Resources

Job Boards

Faculty Advisors

Every student's career goals and interests are unique; current students are highly encouraged to meet with their faculty advisor to discuss their individual career paths.

 Not sure who your faculty advisor is? Faculty advisors are listed on top of students' Degree Works page. You can also contact the Geology Undergraduate Program Coordinator at

Geology Department Listservs

The Geology Department forwards job openings to the internal department listservs. Please contact the Geology Office at if: 

-You are a current geology student who has not been receiving departmental emails (please check your spam mail first!)

-You are a geology alumni who would like to subscribe to the Geology alumni listserv

If you are an employer who would like to advertise a job opening to WWU Geology students and alumni, please email a description of the position and contact information for questions. 

Other Resources



Handshake is Western's official recruiting and career fair platform that connects Western students and alumni with employers.

Set up a free account today! 

WWU Career Services Center

Need help finding an internship or applying for jobs? Visit the WWU Career Services Center in Old Main 280 to meet with a career counselor, receive grad school advising, get help with resumes and cover letters, and more! 

Additional Information

Examples of Geoscience Job Titles

Ore Control Geologist

Environmental Associate

Mine Geologist

Site Manager

Natural Resource Scientist

Geospatial Data Research Scientist

Landslide Geoscientist

Geology Assistant


Geologic Mapper

Forest and Fish Hydrogeologist

Park Ranger

Office Manager and Associate Geologist

Scientific Instructional Technician

Hydrologic Technician

Water Quality Data Coordinator

Seismic Data Technician

Field Engineer

WWU Geology alumni have been hired by...


Associated Earth Sciences

ATC Group Services

BGC Engineering 

Bureau of Land Management

Cascade Volcano Observatory 

Coastal Geologic Services

Department of Health 

Department of Oregon Geology and Mineral Industries

Earth Solutions NW


Geosyntec Consultants

Geotest Services



Great Basin Institute

HWA Geosciences

i-80 Gold Corp

Johns Hopkins Applies Physics Laboratory

Kinross Fort Knox

Materials Testing & Consulting

Midway Sewer District


Minnesota Geological Survey

NAEVA Geophysics


Nelson Geotechnical Associates

Northwest Hydraulic Consultants 

Quality Geo NW

SLR International Corporation


United States Forest Service


Washington Asbestos Testing

Whatcom Community College

Local Geoscience Organizations

Associated Earth Sciences (Kirkland, Mt Vernon, Tacoma)

ATC Group Services (Seattle)

Coastal Geologic Services (Bellingham)

Earth Solutions NW (Redmond)

GeoResources (Fife)

Geosyntec Consultants (Seattle)

Geotechnical Associates (Woodinville, Wenatchee)

Geotest Services (Bellingham, Arlington, Oak Harbor)

Golder-WSP (Redmond)

HWA Geosciences (Bothell)

Materials Testing & Consulting (Bellingham, Tukwila, Burlington, Olympia, Silverdale)

Nelson Geotechnical Associates (Woodinville, Wenatchee)

Northwest Hydraulic Consultants (Bellingham, Seattle, Olympia)

Quality Geo NW (Lacey, Nelson)

Sound Geology (Bellingham)

Stratum Group (Bellingham)

Terraphase (Tacoma, Woodinville)

Washington Asbestos Testing (Kirkland)

(WWU Geology is not affiliated with or endorsed by the organizations above. This list is a resource for prospective or current students seeking information about possible career paths in geoscience and is a small snapshot of geoscience-related organizations in Washington State.)