How Big Can Your Salary Get As A Geologist in Oil, Gas Industry?

How Big Can Your Salary Get As A Geologist in Oil, Gas Industry?
Rigzone breaks down what kind of cash a geologist can extract from the oil and gas business in North America.

In oil and gas as it is in real estate, it would seem that salaries are all about location, location, location. And without the folks willing to get dirt under their fingernails and mud on their boots, the oil and gas landscape would be murky indeed.

The field of geology is broad enough that there’s room for a variety of personality types with a myriad of proclivities, according to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). Yet for most folks, salary negotiations, while critical, may be an uncomfortable afterthought.

According to an April 2017 survey Glassdoor conducted with 236 staff geologists, the national average salary is $55,416 per year. In Houston, that figures more than doubles to $123,048 annually.

Once you achieve the rank of senior geologist, national salaries are more in line with the Houston oil and gas hub. Nationally, the average for annual salary is $130,195; in Houston, it’s $146,203. According to, the median annual salary for a senior geologist is $97,848.

But along with higher pay, qualifications become steeper for a senior geologists. Most companies required a bachelor’s degree, but preferred a master’s. Minimum experience requirements range by company, but between five and eight years was common, according to the survey.

Armed with averages, you can walk into your interview with a target range in mind. And the folks at AAPG have produced the following tips to help you land the most money for your muscle:

  • Let the interviewer raise the salary issue; you need to understand what the potential employers wants from the position before you can adequately appraise an offer.
  • Don’t bloat your current – or last – salary figure. It’s unlikely to augment any forthcoming offers.
  • Especially during a down market, consider other parts of a compensation package – not just take-home pay. Telecommuting, merit bonuses and generous retirement benefits can add heft to a struggling industry salary.


Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.