Paleontologists are geoscientists who study the fossils of ancient life-forms, including human life, found in sedimentary rocks on or within the earth's crust. Paleontological analyses range from the description of large, easily visible features to biochemical analysis of incompletely fossilized tissue. The observations are used to infer relationships between past and present groups of organisms (taxonomy), to investigate the origins of life, and to investigate the ecology of the past (paleoecology) from which implications for the s...
Minimum Education Level
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), all geoscientists, including paleontologists, earned a median annual salary of $91,130 in May 2018. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $49,430, and the highest paid 25 percent earned $187,990 or more annually. Keep in mind that those figures are for all geoscientists, many of whom work for the oil industry, which typically pays considera...
The day-to-day activities of a paleontologist vary but, in the course of a year, usually involve some mix of fieldwork, laboratory analysis, library research, and grant writing or teaching. In industry, a paleontologist's duties may be defined by the project the company has developed. In academia and in museum work, a paleontologist may be able to define a personal course of research but may ha...
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), employment opportunities for all geoscientists, including paleontologists, are expected to grow by 6 percent through 2028, which is about as fast as the average; however, competition will be stiff for university teaching and research positions.
Oil companies are the second largest employer of paleontologists (universities and colleges are ...