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Career Path Forecast
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of geoscientists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. The need for energy, environmental protection, and responsible land and resource management is projected to spur demand for geoscientists in the future.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are examples of new technologies that are expected to increase demand for geoscientists. These technologies allow for the extraction of previously inaccessible oil and gas resources, and geoscientists will be needed to study effects they have on the surrounding areas. As oil prices remain high or increase into the future, even more technologies will likely be introduced that expand the ability to reach untapped oil reserves or introduce alternative ways to provide energy for the expanding population.

Geoscientists will be needed in planning for the construction of wind farms, geothermal power plants, and solar power plants. Alternative energies such as wind energy, geothermal energy, and solar power can use large areas of land and impact wildlife and other natural processes. In addition, only certain areas are suitable for harvesting these energies. For example, geothermal energy plants must be located near sufficient hot groundwater, and one task for geoscientists would be studying maps and charts to decide if the site is suitable.

An expanding population and the corresponding increased use of space and resources may create a continued need for geoscientists.

Job opportunities should be excellent for geoscientists, but particularly those who earn a masterís degree. In addition to job growth, a number of job openings are expected as geoscientists leave the workforce due to retirement and other reasons.

Geoscientists with a doctoral degree will likely face competition for positions in academia and research.

Fewer opportunities are expected in state and federal governments than in the past. Budget constraints are likely to limit hiring by state governments and federal agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey. In addition, more of the work traditionally done by government agencies is expected to be contracted out to consulting firms in the future. Most opportunities for geoscientists are expected to be related to resource extraction; in particular, gas and oil exploration and extraction operations.

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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