Geology is the study of the Earth, and the events and processes that influence its composition. Students with a high capacity for math, science, and data analysis are well-suited to the study of geology. Additionally, it is a good fit for students who are fascinated by earth sciences, environmental issues, and the history of the Earth. A degree in geology is applicable to many fields, including marine science and environmental science. A diverse and flexible subject, geology majors can work in a number of occupations depending on their degree level and long-term career goals. Online degree programs in geology can lead to an exciting and challenging career, in a variety of professional capacities.
Online Associate Degree Programs for Geology
Online college degree programs in geology at the associate degree level are less common than in other disciplines, but online programs are available. Associate degrees in geology focus on earth and physical sciences courses with labs as well as general sciences and applied math. They may also include classes in surveying, data collection, and other processes courses that can be applied to technician occupations available to associate degree holders. Although typically a two-year degree program, many students pursue an associate degree program with the intention of transferring their course credits to a four-year geology degree program. Most positions in geology require at least a bachelor’s degree, and online associate degree programs allow students to explore the field of geology while working toward completing a bachelor’s degree.
Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Geology
Online bachelors degree programs in geology explore the field more thoroughly than an associate degree program. Students in online bachelors degree programs typically complete approximately 30 hours of course work in geology, however, degree requirements may vary depending on the program. Students often choose an area of specialization or concentration, which influences the geography courses they take. Sample courses in geology online bachelor’s degree programs include general physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and calculus. Depending on the curriculum, courses in structural geology, geophysics, global change, and hydrogeology, along with mandatory field courses, to satisfy lab requirements, may be added.
Online Master’s Degree Programs for Geology
Online masters degree programs in geology emphasize advanced geological study.. Master’s programs in geology include courses in concentrated focus areas, and often require group research projects in field study and research. Students in geology online masters degree programs must complete a thesis, critical for students considering doctoral work in this field. A master’s degree is preferred for positions in geology with both public and private employers, so students hoping for broader employment options in the field may want to consider a master’s degree, focusing on an area of expertise that will help define their career objectives, such as geophysics, environmental geology, tectonics, geochemistry, or volcanology.
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Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Geology
Doctoral degrees in geology often include two to three years of course work, followed by several years of independent research. Students utilize their professional and educational experience to develop new methods and technologies for analyzing geological data. Doctoral students learn problem-solving and find solutions through their research, in preparation for a long-term career in scientific research and academic study of geology. Accredited online degree programs at the doctoral level are rare in geology, due to the fact that most programs entail residencies that require the student’s on-campus involvement. However, some programs may be available that allow the student to complete coursework through distance learning technologies, then visit campus to complete any teaching or residency requirements.
Online Degree Programs in Geology in the Work Place
Online college degree programs in geology can lead to a variety of careers. Geology degree holders often work in academia, research, or corporate America. An undergraduate degree in geology can lead to a technical sales career in the petroleum industry, or an entry-level position as a consultant with an environmental firm, for example. Online masters degree programs in geology provide additional career opportunities. With a master’s degree in geology, professionals can teach at community colleges, hold geologist positions with research organizations or corporations, or work for museums or oil and gas companies. Most titled "geologist" positions require at least a master’s degree, and sometimes doctoral degrees are preferred. Salaries for geologists and geoscientists vary greatly depending on location of residence, qualifications, and whether they work in the public or private sectors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that geoscientists can earn approximately $82,000 per year, on average.