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Salary, Wages, Pay: Environmental Scientists and Geoscientists




Median annual earnings of environmental scientists were $47,600 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,820 and $62,400. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,920, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,200.

Median annual earnings of geoscientists were $67,470 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $48,370 and $102,120; the lowest 10 percent, less than $36,580 and the highest 10 percent more than $133,310.

Median annual earnings of hydrologists were $56,530 in 2002, with the middle 50 percent earning between $44,080 and $70,160, the lowest 10 percent less than $36,790, and the highest 10 percent more than $86,620.

Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest number of environmental scientists in 2002 were as follows:

Federal Government $66,190
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 45,560
Local government 45,270
Architectural, engineering, and related services 44,590
State government 44,580

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, beginning salary offers in 2003 for graduates with bachelorís degrees in geology and related sciences averaged about $32,828 a year; graduates with a masterís degree averaged $47,981, and graduates with a doctoral degree averaged $61,050.

In 2003, the Federal Governmentís average salary for geologists in managerial, supervisory, and nonsupervisory positions was $76,389 for geologists, $86,809 for geophysicists, $70,525 for hydrologists, and $79,023 for oceanographers.

The petroleum, mineral, and mining industries are vulnerable to recessions and to changes in oil and gas prices, among other factors, and usually release workers when exploration and drilling slow down. Consequently, they offer higher salaries, but less job security, than do other industries.