Wittenberg University students Beth Wilson, left, and Allie Perry use a GPS device to map out a lot near the school during their geology class taught by Professor John Ritter, in the background, Friday.
Photo: Bill Lackey
Photo: Bill Lackey

Degree program with success: Geology

Geology

  • What: Bachelor’s degree
  • Where: Wittenberg University
  • Why: Field is growing faster than average
  • Salary: Median annual salary is $82,500, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Wittenberg is a liberal arts school that exposes students to a broad curriculum to allow for flexibility in any field, but students in the geology program also learn the fundamentals in a hands-on way.

The need for geologists is growing across the nation. The industry was expected the add 7,100 between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That 21 percent growth is faster than the average field. Most new jobs are in management, scientific and technical consulting services, the bureau reports.

In 2012, four students graduated from Wittenberg’s program, and two entered graduate school. One is working in the gas industry in Ohio and one is working in Texas, said professor John Ritter. Nationwide, there were 3,200 graduates in 2012, according to the American Geosciences Institute.

“Right now there is a tremendous need. It comes not from one sector, but a lot of sectors,” Ritter said. That includes people to work with oil and gas, to study the impact of fracking, and examine water resources in the western states.

Ritter said incoming students do not always think of geology when choosing their major.

“Students who come out of high school don’t realize geology is a profession and a career,” he said. “They really see it as a preliminary science course.”

>> Environmental Engineering

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