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View Diary: Who Are You? - What's Your Income (with Poll) (221 comments)

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  •  It's amazing how hit-or-miss your profession (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GussieFN, lgmcp, MO Blue

    can be.

    I got out of school in the early 1980s, having specialized in hydrogeology for graduate school.  In those days, that was a relatively rare profession and usually only very good geologists focused on it (no boasting here, just opinion).  Myself, I pursued hydrogeology because I didn't want to be a petroleum geologist living in Houston.  

    After Rita Lavelle and Anne Gorsuch Burfurd were out of EPA, the field of hazarodous waste site remediation went through the roof.  Demand for hydrogeologists skyrocketed.  In the late 1980s, EPA passed rules regulating underground storage tanks (USTs).  Suddenly, everybody and their sister/brother were calling themselves a groundwater expert.  It was very easy to make money in the field then, because there was so much work flowing in and UST work is relatively simple and easy to do. Things have tightened up signifcantly over the past decade, but there still is a considerable amount of work either in the "dirty water" side (hazardous site cleanup) or the "clean water" side (water resource exploration and development).  

    I'm in the $100K+ category, which is pretty standard for a hydrogeologist with 20+ years of experience.  My wife's teaching income goes to pay for our kids' college.  

    Although we both are the first generation in our families to go to college, I have no doubt that we've been very, very lucky.  A big part of that luck is picking a profession in which you are interested and for which there are growth prospects.  For what it's worth, geology is a little less likely than most professions to be outsourced overseas.  It's hard to log holes being drilled in the U.S. from overseas.  Hard to measure water levels or map geology unless you're on the ground in your study area.  

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