What Can You Do With An Earth Science Degree?

earth science degree jobs

Earth science is the study of the physical characteristics of Earth and its atmosphere. What can you do with a degree in earth science? You can find the answer to that question and more by reading this article that offers examples of notable schools at which you can earn that degree and a variety of jobs you may qualify for once you get a degree in earth science.

Areas of Earth Science

Earth science is a very broad subject that can be broken down into specific areas of study. A few of those areas are listed and briefly described below.

Physical geography – study of natural characteristics of the bodies of land

Geology – study of the history of the earth and its structure

Ecology – study of the way living organisms interact with one another and their physical surroundings

Hydrology – study of bodies of water on earth and their patterns

How to Get an Earth Science Degree

If you are interested in pursuing a career in earth science, you should begin looking for universities and colleges with outstanding earth science programs as early as the beginning of your senior year of high school. The sooner you begin your search, the more likely you are to obtain a spot at the school of your choice if you submit your applications early enough for admissions to check your transcripts and test scores. In this section, you will find a variety of schools with notable earth science programs that just may fit your needs.

The School of Earth and Climate Sciences at the University of Maine offers undergraduate students the opportunity to earn a degree in earth and climate sciences. Students majoring in this field focus on environmental protection tactics as well as ways in which we can reduce the damage our society is doing to the earth in order to better coexist with the beauty of nature. The university’s graduate students have a world of resources at their fingertips. Research opportunities are plentiful in the earth science field, allowing students to better connect with faculty members and build their experience levels for future careers.

The School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University lets undergraduates choose between a Bachelor of Arts in Earth Science and a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science. The difference is that the arts degree requirements prepare students for careers related to liberal arts, such as technical writing, education, business school; and the science degree requirements prepare students for careers in more scientific hands-on areas such as governmental research and data management and analysis. Graduate students can choose to earn a higher degree in earth sciences or geodetic science & surveying.

If you already have a bachelors degree in earth science and work full time but you’re interested in pursuing a masters degree in earth science, then you should consider an online program. There are various universities and colleges that offer strictly online learning so you’re able to study and perform classwork in the comfort of your own home or on the go at your convenience in whatever setting and speed work for you. Just a few noteworthy online schools to consider are Everest University Online, Penn State Online, West Governors University, Liberty University Online, and University of Phoenix. Online degrees are just as good as any other. The only issue with an online degree is that you don’t often get the research experience needed for some careers.

Careers in Earth Science

Before you graduate from college, it is important that you explore what career options are available to earth science majors. This will help you better shape your education around which career path you find most appealing. In this section, you will find brief descriptions of just a few jobs available to people with degrees in earth science or a related field.

Entry Level Careers in Earth Science

Entry level careers in earth science usually require a bachelors degree, and most prefer that you begin with a small amount of experience in order to demonstrate your skills and knowledge of the area right away. Many places accept experience gained in college through internships or collaborative research projects in your field.


With a bachelors degree in geology, a specific field of earth science, you can get an entry level geologist position. Entry level geologists assist in environmental testing of the earth’s physical attributes, including contaminated soil, groundwater, and bedrock, by gathering samples and assisting in the recording of test results. They can also participate in the disposal of materials hazardous to the environment. Much of their time is spent outside, often traveling from location to location in order to help improve the environment. Geologists possess advanced written and verbal communication skills as well as the ability to pay close attention to minute details and the capability to work with others as a team and individually.

Entry level geologists can earn around $32,000 annually.

Earth Science Teacher

If you enjoy working with a younger crowd assisting in their educational experience, then perhaps you should consider a career as an earth science teacher. High school earth science teachers cover the basics of the earth’s composition, atmospheres, and rocks and minerals found on and in the earth. They are responsible for creating lesson plans containing these areas and actively engaging their students in research projects both in and out of the classroom. Earth science teachers possess the ability to communicate knowledge effectively as well as the ability to take a more creative approach to the subject. They typically possess a bachelors degree in earth science with experience as student teachers in their field.

High school earth science teachers can earn around $33,000 annually, depending on experience and district regulations.

Atmospheric Scientist

earth science degree

In order to become an atmospheric scientist, you need at least a bachelors degree in atmospheric science, a specific area of study in earth science. Positions for atmospheric scientists can often be found in the world of meteorology, specifically focusing on weather forecasts. Atmospheric scientists study current weather patterns within the atmosphere in order to predict future long term and short term weather patterns for presentation to the public. Therefore, these scientists must possess acute attention to detail and excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Entry level atmospheric scientists can earn around $40,000 annually. Salaries will increase with higher education.

Advanced Careers in Earth Science

Upon gaining a few years of experience in the field of earth science and earning a masters degree or doctoral degree in earth science or a related field, you will qualify for many more career options. Some of these options are described below.

Earth Modeler

Earth modelers create updated models of the earth’s surface including potential physical danger or ideal locations for various projects and how those projects may affect the earth. The position of an earth modeler requires at least a masters degree in earth science and a few years of experience in the earth science field. Earth modelers possess excellent written communication in addition to strict attention to detail and background knowledge in geology.

Earth modelers can earn around $57,000 a year.

Air Pollution Control Engineer

Air pollution control engineers can begin with a bachelors degree in earth science, but it is preferred that applicants possess a masters degree or doctoral degree in earth science or environmental science. They spend their time researching ways to address and control or diminish atmosphere issues such as ozone depletion and pollution via automobiles. They possess good written and verbal communication skills in order to present their findings to organizations so that they may implement tactics to test the solutions. They also have excellent research and analysis skills.

Air pollution control engineers can earn anywhere from $44,000 to over $100,000 a year depending on their education and experience levels.

Wind Turbine Construction Managers

Wind turbine construction managers are responsible for overseeing the maintenance and repairing of wind turbines across America in order to procure a natural resource to create power with very little harm to the environment. They often partake in the hiring and dismissal processes of wind turbine technicians in addition to the planning and implementation of new wind energy projects. Advanced communication skills and attention to detail are beneficial traits to possess in this field. In order to enhance your chances of gaining a position of a wind turbine manager, you should possess degrees related to engineering and earth science.

Wind turbine managers can earn over $78,000 a year.

Companies that Hire People with Earth Science Degrees

Once you’ve chosen which career path to pursue, and once you’ve graduated from an accredited college or university, you will need to join the hunt for a job in your field. Many companies around the world are looking to hire people for jobs related to earth science. Below is a list of places that hire people with earth science degrees, the starting point in your quest for the job of your dreams.

Chevron – various locations around the world; provides motor oils and fuel, additives, lubricants, energy services and more to individuals and businesses; brand names include Texaco, Chevron, and Caltex; hires positions for Earth modelers and in areas including but not limited to geology, drilling completions, chemistry, procurement, engineering, manufacturing, etc.

CH2M HILL – headquarters in Englewood, CO; American engineering company operations services to businesses and governments around the world; hires positions for environmental scientists, energy market leaders, wastewater lead process engineers, water resources engineers, etc.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) – located in Pasadena, CA; division of NASA at the California Institute of Technology; hires positions for Earth surface scientists, project engineers, etc.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy conducting unclassified scientific research; hires positions for geological research scientists, plant biologists, synthetic biologists, pathway engineers, etc.

There are many options out there for people with earth science degrees. Apply to multiple schools, but make sure to choose the school with the degree program that best fits your needs in order to help shape you, to help prepare you for the hunting grounds that are today’s job market.