Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

2.6 Careers in the Earth Sciences


2.6: Careers in the earth sciences

As a multi-disciplinary science, geology draws from and applies chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, and engineering. Subfields include geophysics, hydrogeology, oceanography, paleontology, environmental engineering, mining and mineral resources, and more. Geology students learn about earth processes and their effects on the general environment and life. Well-trained geologists help in charting pathways that are both environmentally and economically sound in addressing issues related to human interaction with both resources and hazards, crafting solutions to benefit the general public. In addition to geology, gemology is a career direction for kids interested in minerals and gemstones, whether as a miner seeking new sources of rough gemstones, a distributor in the wholesale business, a retailer, or an artisan crafting fine jewelry.

Some great resources for helping kids learn about such careers are web sites for the Mineral Information Institute and Women in Mining. You and your kids can also explore the web site of the U.S. Geological Survey. And there are also the American Geological Institute and the Gemological Institute of America. If you live near a college or university that has a geology department, you might contact the department because they will often have information about careers in geology for advising their students. Here are just a few ideas:

college or university professor of geology or paleontology

laboratory research worker and technician

natural history museum curator

petroleum geologist

staff geologist or field geologist for a mining company

mining engineer


planetary geologist for NASA



independent consultant assessing geological hazards for the construction industry

seismologist for the United States Geological Survey (USGS)


environmental scientist conducting environmental impact studies and remediation

marine geologist

hydrogeologist or hydrologist evaluating and developing groundwater resources


independent fossil or rock and mineral dealer

professional jewelry designer and craftsperson

jewelry store owner

Note: Kids who write a paper for this activity can use it toward satisfying requirements for the Communication badge simultaneously (Activity 7.2).