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Employment and earnings of geoscientists

July 25, 2016

In May 2015, the United States had about 32,000 people employed as geoscientists (not including hydrologists and geographers). Their work involved the study of the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth. They might use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge to explore for oil, gas, minerals, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. On average, the mean annual wages of geoscientists were close to $106,000.

Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers, employment and mean annual wages, by area, May 2015
Area Employment Mean annual wages

United States

31,800 $105,720

Birmingham-Hoover, AL

80 103,160

Anchorage, AK

350 125,810

Balance of Alaska nonmetropolitan area

60 90,500

Fairbanks, AK

110 81,880

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

210 78,240

Tucson, AZ

70 79,720

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR

50 57,120

Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, CA Metropolitan Division

800 80,900

Bakersfield, CA

300 136,420

Fresno, CA

40 97,410

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division

580 87,690

North Coast Region of California nonmetropolitan area

40 78,900

Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA

90 106,400

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

220 94,980

Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA

420 91,090

Salinas, CA

60 130,790

San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

430 86,220

San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA Metropolitan Division

520 111,970

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

180 93,180

Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA

90 98,340

Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA

60 101,620

Stockton-Lodi, CA

60 94,010

Colorado Springs, CO

80 53,460

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

1,800 124,340

Fort Collins, CO

70 76,010

Grand Junction, CO

90 75,320

Northwest Colorado nonmetropolitan area

40 113,740

Southwest Colorado nonmetropolitan area

70 89,500

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

40 84,260

Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division

50 91,500

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division

320 120,780

Jacksonville, FL

50 90,100

Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL

40 104,250

Tallahassee, FL

70 59,060

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

250 90,760

West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL Metropolitan Division

60 83,150

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

230 63,900

Savannah, GA

50 73,260

Urban Honolulu, HI

50 98,450

Boise City, ID

50 69,160

Southeast Idaho nonmetropolitan area

60 71,370

Champaign-Urbana, IL

60 72,230

Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL Metropolitan Division

180 90,270

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN

160 56,710

Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA

30 73,290

Topeka, KS

40 55,940

Wichita, KS

90 77,490

Central Kentucky nonmetropolitan area

70 57,540

Lexington-Fayette, KY

100 65,830

Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN

50 78,980

Baton Rouge, LA

170 71,650

Lafayette, LA

310 101,440

New Orleans-Metairie, LA

320 123,780

Portland-South Portland, ME

60 64,190

Southwest Maine nonmetropolitan area

40 67,450

Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD

210 70,350

Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD Metropolitan Division

150 117,580

Barnstable Town, MA

50 97,440

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Division

50 73,750

Lansing-East Lansing, MI

60 61,580

Northwest Lower Peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area

30 93,440

Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI Metropolitan Division

80 91,370

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

190 76,470

Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS

260 94,030

Jackson, MS

50 57,860

Kansas City, MO-KS

100 85,590

St. Louis, MO-IL

40 67,490

Billings, MT

90 101,470

Central Montana nonmetropolitan area

50 86,420

Southwest Montana nonmetropolitan area

100 87,290

Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA

90 71,170

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

230 76,820

North Nevada nonmetropolitan area

360 99,970

Reno, NV

230 110,960

Manchester, NH

30 87,280

Camden, NJ Metropolitan Division

50 69,530

Newark, NJ-PA Metropolitan Division

130 86,930

Trenton, NJ

60 82,300

Albuquerque, NM

120 82,060

Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area

120 142,130

Santa Fe, NM

50 62,250

Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY

210 70,930

Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY

90 79,960

Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY Metropolitan Division

100 64,080

New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division

580 83,060

Rochester, NY

70 82,540

Syracuse, NY

30 79,760

Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

130 75,210

Raleigh, NC

200 83,430

Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

90 65,200

Cleveland-Elyria, OH

40 80,460

Columbus, OH

110 65,920

Northeast Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area

120 130,770

Northwest Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area

80 107,870

Oklahoma City, OK

530 103,920

Tulsa, OK

260 154,320

Corvallis, OR

40 84,300

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

310 71,200

Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA

130 71,570

Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County, PA Metropolitan Division

200 79,070

Northern Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area

40 56,940

Pittsburgh, PA

330 90,600

Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA

50 62,760

Providence-Warwick, RI-MA

110 68,560

Charleston-North Charleston, SC

50 107,100

Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC

30 100,060

Abilene, TX

40 83,400

Knoxville, TN

70 78,920

Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN

90 66,520

Austin-Round Rock, TX

450 84,800

College Station-Bryan, TX

110 74,690

Corpus Christi, TX

130 100,560

Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX Metropolitan Division

460 134,070

Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Division

340 85,500

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

6,140 157,750

Midland, TX

460 163,750

North Texas Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area

50 102,130

San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

240 92,310

Eastern Utah nonmetropolitan area

50 57,330

Salt Lake City, UT

140 86,060

Charlottesville, VA

50 56,800

Richmond, VA

70 57,390

Bellingham, WA

30 83,810

Kennewick-Richland, WA

80 98,060

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Division

770 85,790

Tacoma-Lakewood, WA Metropolitan Division

40 82,670

Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH

40 62,370

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

70 74,300

Casper, WY

40 80,690

Central-Southeast Wyoming nonmetropolitan area

50 67,480

Cheyenne, WY

30 61,410

Northwest Wyoming nonmetropolitan area

30 94,220

Over 6,000 geoscientists were employed in the Houston, Texas, area; their average annual wages were nearly $158,000. Another 1,800 geoscientists worked in the Denver, Colorado, area, earning $124,000 per year. Other areas in Texas, California, Oklahoma, Washington, and New York also were home to large numbers of people employed as geoscientists.

Midland, Texas, was the area with the highest average wages for geoscientists, nearly $164,000 per year. Other metropolitan areas with the high average wages for geoscientists were in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, California, Oklahoma, and Alaska.

To learn more, see Geoscientists in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Also see Interview with a Geophysicist in Career Outlook. Employment and wage estimates shown in the chart are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program; for more OES estimates, see Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers. OES estimates do not include the self-employed.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employment and earnings of geoscientists on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/employment-and-wages-of-geoscientists.htm (visited August 09, 2020).

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