Depends very much on the nature of the job. A starting salary for a Master’s holder in the oil industry would be more than $90,000 per year, but it is highly competitive. Jobs in environmental fields, or state or local governments, could be as low as $25,000 per year to start but something like $35,000 per year is more likely – and it depends on the location, and the nature of the work. Academic (teaching/research) university positions usually require a PhD; starting pay will vary a lot from one university to another and often would demand a post-doc or other experience; a range of pay from $40,000 to $55,000 to start would not be unreasonable, but again such positions are highly competitive, often with hundreds applying for a single job at one prestigious university.
With experience, of course, salaries increase – a 20-year geo-professional in the oil industry could make more than $200,000 per year. In the enviro world high-end salaries would be more like half that, or less. Government jobs, while stable and challenging, will not rise as rapidly as industry positions.
Positions with the Us Geological Survey can earn as much as $150,000. Of course, this is a federal position and often times people have to move up. I have attached a link to USAjobs.gov that shows what is currently available and how much each position pays, to give you an indication of your options so that when you are ready to start your career search you will know where to look for federal employment.
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