Geology Careers | Geology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Science

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Careers in Geology

Today, there is a need for qualified individuals in the fields of energy, groundwater, and environmental geology. Many of our recent graduates are finding employment in these and related areas. Students graduating from our programs have been highly successful in obtaining jobs with oil companies, consulting firms, and state and federal agencies. Most of the more than 44,000 geologists working today are exploring for new mineral resources or for petroleum and natural gas.

Some of the more successful industrial geologists rise through company ranks to top management positions. An SIU graduate is vice president in charge of exploration for a large oil company. Other SIU graduates have risen to the rank of division geologist or district geologist in major oil companies, responsible for oil and gas exploration in many areas of the world. Most large petroleum companies now prefer to hire geologists or geophysicists with at least a master's degree (considered the "professional" degree) so many of our undergraduates go on to graduate school to earn M.S. degrees.

The federal government employs many geologists and geophysicists, most of whom work in the U.S. Department of the Interior. One of our graduates held the position of Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Energy and Minerals, an administrative post overseeing the U.S. Geological Survey, the largest federal employer of geologists. Geologists, hydrogeologists, and geophysicists also work for the Soil Conservation Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Mines, the Department of Energy, the Forest Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Army, and the Navy. Many work for state geological surveys; three SIU graduates have been state geologists, heading such units.