Sarah A. Easley
August 13, 2018
Geoscience incorporates several scientific disciplines related by their applications to the study of the earth.
You may be familiar with scientific fields like geology, chemistry, astronomy and physics. What is geoscience, though? Breaking the term down, you can figure out that it means "earth" science, but "earth science" is its own discipline.
While earth science plays a strong role, geoscience is actually made up of multiple scientific disciplines, related by their applications to the studying the earth.
Geoscientists can be seen working in a number of STEM-related fields, but they all study our planet in some fashion. Individual studies can focus on anything from climate change or volcanic activity to how the environment and human societies interact with each other, as highlighted by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI). Borrowing perspectives, processes and frameworks from other scientific disciplines like chemistry and physics, geoscience allows you to study the nature of our planet and the issues that threaten it through multiple lenses.
Dr. Kelly Thrippleton-Hunter, faculty lead of undergraduate science at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), is an advocate for students pursuing an interest in geoscience. "The significance of the geoscience field lies in the possibilities of what geoscientists can do to help protect our planet and predict what the future might hold," she said.
From tracking the path of a storm across the Midwest to evaluating the stability of the Perito Moreno glacier, geoscientists perform valuable, and often critical, functions. For those looking for a job with meaning and purpose, this could be the pathway for you.
How to Become a Geoscientist
A Bachelor of Science in Geosciences positions you to influence and view the world from a dynamic perspective as a geoscientist.
With so many options out there, how can you take advantage of this degree program to prepare you for working in your chosen field?
Something to seriously consider is how to use your electives. You can maximize the potential of your program by choosing subjects that compliment your core courses. "Students wishing to focus their careers in more of an environmental arena can bring in courses in biology, environmental science, sustainability, and environmental compliance. Those wishing to be involved in policy and decision making might want to consider courses in data analytics, management, and public administration," said Thrippleton-Hunter.
Looking beyond your studies, building a strong network from among your peers, instructors, and mentors gives you a support group to call on as you get started in your career. Explore internship opportunities as they are an excellent way to gain valuable experience for your resumé. Check out conferences you can attend as a student, too. Thrippleton-Hunter notes that some great events are hosted by AGI, the Geological Society of America (GSA), the Geoscience Information Society (GSIS), and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT).
Geoscience careers offer a wealth of opportunities. Pursuing a job in any of the many areas it covers also serves the cause of preserving the world we live in.
Since geoscience can lead into many different specializations, the job market you'll be looking at is rich with possibilities. "The majority of graduates with a degree in geoscience work in the environmental service industry, which involves environmental remediation efforts related to site assessment for development, natural resource extraction and construction," Thrippleton-Hunter said. Many also find their way into governmental positions, working for agencies within the Department of the Interior, she said.
When it comes to potential salaries, resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and ONet are excellent resources for researching the fields you're interested in. According to the BLS, the median annual income for geoscientists across all tracked specializations (excluding hydrologists and geographers) was almost $90,000 in 2017.
It's also important to consider the outlook for your chosen career. Is it a field that's in demand and will there be jobs in the coming years? Be sure to think about where you live and whether you'll find a market for your skills there. While growth projections may vary, the BLS forecasts that jobs in the area of geoscience (again exempting hydrologists and geographers) will increase 14% by 2026.
Here is a list of just some of the jobs you, as a geoscience major, can consider either directly after graduation or with additional education at the graduate level:
Sarah A. Easley '12 '18MA is a writer for SNHU. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.
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