Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Get Rich Being a Geologist! But...?

I could have had an MBA and a corner office!


Geology as a profession gets mentioned on National Public Radio! You can get $80,000 a year to start, with a four-year degree! Mining companies and Petroleum companies are fighting over newly-minted graduates, with some people receiving multiple offers! Hear it all here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88772878.

But...I wonder if this is a very useful thing to have happen in our profession? I maybe have a unique point of view, in that I got into geology as a profession out of a love of all things earth-related, and it makes me wonder whether that is the case for all the other geologists out there? Maybe the geoblogosphere is the wrong place to ask, because running a blog on geological topics suggests a love of things geological as well. But there are a lot of students out here. Are your friends and colleagues in geology for love or money?

Does anyone break into this field, facing four years and more of calculus, chemistry and physics, as well as years of hydrology, structural geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, micropaleontology, just to pick up $80,000 to start? I see a lot of people who go into real estate, banking, accounting and the like and they make good money, but they don't generally like what they do, and build their lives around the weekends and times away from the job. That's not generally the case with the geologists and teachers that I know. They live for weekend field trips so they can get out and see even more geology!

So, are we ready for a flood of students whose motivation is primarily financial? Or will they even make it past the first hurdle of chemistry 101? Geology tends to be a boom and bust economical field; will a flood of graduates saturate the field just in time for the next economic bust? What do you think?
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