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The Average Salary of Mineralogists

by Forest Time

Mineralogists are geoscientists who study the properties of minerals. According to the Mineralogical Society of America, mineralogists find employment at colleges, universities and museums, with federal agencies, and with private mining companies. Most mineralogists need at least a bachelor's degree, and those interested in research positions usually need a PhD.

National Average Pay

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, geoscience specialists such as mineralogists earned an average pay of $51.33 an hour and $106,780 per year as of May 2012. Fifty percent of geoscience specialists received pay closest to the median, ranging from $30.61 to $62.66 per hour. Annual salaries for these geoscientists ranged from $63,670 to $130,330. The highest-paid 10 percent earned over $187,199 per year.

Pay by Employment Sector

As of 2012, geoscience specialists employed in the oil and gas extraction industry reported one of the highest average salaries: $149,750 per year. Those employed in support activities for mining also reported a high average salary, at $140,520 per year. Geoscience specialists employed by federal government agencies averaged $96,820 per year and those working for state agencies averaged $64,970. Those employed by colleges and universities averaged $81,480 per year.

Pay by Location

As of 2012, geoscience specialists working in Oklahoma received the highest average salary, at $153,120 per year. Texas reported the second-highest salary for this occupation at $146,800 per year. Other high-paying locations included the District of Columbia at $128,040, Alaska at $111,670 and Colorado at $106,030. South Carolina reported the lowest average income for geoscience specialists in 2012, at $38,540 per year.

Job Outlook

By 2020, the BLS expects the number of jobs for geoscientists to increase at a relatively fast rate of 21 percent. The employment outlook is expected to be especially high in the oil and gas industry so long as prices remain high, encouraging oil exploration. However, mineralogists pursuing research positions at colleges and universities should expect strong competition.