How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Geophysicist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $105,720
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 10.4%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Get to Travel
    Career Attribute

Geophysicists research the physical properties of the Earth and its atmospheres.   They specialize their studies in areas like geomagnetic and gravitational fields as well as planetary movement and seismic activity.

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What is a Geophysicist?

The following job responsibilities are common for Geophysicists:

  • Collects, researches and interprets data
  • Identifies areas to be surveyed and determined the appropriate method of surveying
  • Studies the processed geophysical data collected to determine the type, shape and location of rock structures
  • Uses seismic, electrical, electromagnetic and radar techniques to penetrate the Earth’s surface to find possible ground water or assess any underground hazards

A Day In The Life

Geophysicists research and study the Earth’s crust structure and behavior as well as the Earth’s gravity, ocean floors and seismic activities.

Some are strictly involved in research while others evaluate Earth’s properties, for environmental hazards or they will evaluate areas for construction sites, locate geological fault lines and also look for and fine underground water sites.

They use high-tech computer software, dynamite, radar, lasers, in maps to assist them with their work.  They will also work with engineers and architects to determine fault lines.  They also examine the effects of the atmosphere on radio and satellite communications.  While others will examine the size and shape of land masses and the movement of the continents.

Typical Work Schedule

While doing research in the lab the typical work schedule is regular 40 hour, full-time work week.  But while doing fieldwork hours may vary due to weather conditions and possible hazardous terrain.

Projected Job Growth

Job growth for this career is slow but steadily increasing.  With environmental legislation and laws changing there may eventually be more growth increase.

Typical Employers

Most geophysicists work in the oil and gas industries.  While the rest usually work as consultants for federal government agencies like the EPA or BLM.

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How To Become a Geophysicist

To become a professional geophysicist, a bachelor’s degree is necessary.  Geophysics can be a broad career.  So a degree in chemistry, physics or engineering can also qualify an individual.

Computer sills, experience with GPS technology, data analysis, digital mapping and other forms of computer modeling software experience are all essential skills for those wanting to pursue a career in this field.  Employers also prefer individuals have experience with fieldwork.

Geophysicist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Geophysicist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Geophysicist's can make an average annual salary of $105,720, or $51 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $62,030 or $30 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #55 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Geophysicist. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Geophysicists

  • 9.4%   Doctorate
  • 36.8%   Masters
  • 47.1%   Bachelors
  • 2.3%   Associates
  • 4.1%   College
  • 0%   High School
  • 0.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Geophysicist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 3,800 jobs for a total of 40,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 10.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #176 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Geophysicists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Oil and gas extraction 8,000 1,000 1%
Engineering services 6,200 800 1%
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 5,300 1,500 2%

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