Geoscientists held about 36,400 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most geoscientists were as follows:
Oil and gas extraction
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services
State government, excluding education and hospitals
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private
About 1 in 5 worked in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry in 2014. Also, about 3 out of 10 geoscientists were employed in Texas in 2014, because of the prominence of those activities in that state. Workers in natural resource extraction fields usually work as part of a team, with other scientists and engineers. For example, they may work closely with petroleum engineers to find and develop new sources of oil and natural gas.
Most geoscientists split their time among working in the field, in laboratories, and in offices. Fieldwork can take geoscientists to remote locations all over the world. For example, oceanographers may spend months at sea on a research ship, and researchers studying advanced topics may need to collaborate with top scientists around the world. Extensive travel and long periods away from home can be physically and psychologically demanding.
The search for natural resources often takes geoscientists involved in exploration to remote areas and foreign countries. When in the field, geoscientists may work in both warm and cold climates, in all types of weather. They may have to travel by helicopter or in vehicles with four-wheel drive and cover large areas on foot. Having outdoor skills, such as camping and boat-handling skills, may be useful.
Most geoscientists work full time. They may work additional or irregular hours when doing fieldwork. Geoscientists travel frequently to meet with clients and to conduct fieldwork.