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How Many Paleontologist Jobs Are There

How Many Paleontologist Jobs Are There

Fancy uncovering the past? Why not try becoming a paleontologist? But is there enough work? Rest assured, despite tech advances, the demand for paleontologists is still high. Unearth the truth about job openings in the field. Find out if this career could be just right for you!

Introduction to Paleontology

Paleontology is the science of prehistoric life and its progression through time. Paleontologists are experts who examine fossils to understand Earth’s life history. This includes extinct species’ anatomy, behavior, and environment. There are several job opportunities in paleontology, like research, teaching, curation, and museum exhibit design.

For instance:

  1. Research Paleontologists – Do field and laboratory research to explore the fossils and their effect on the evolution of Earth.
  2. Curator – Classify, guard, and take care of fossil collections in museums and research institutions. Also, provide access to data and material to any concerned individual. They must be skilful in curatorial techniques.
  3. Academician – Professorship and teaching jobs, requiring Paleontology expertise and a doctoral degree. These experts usually teach about Earth’s life history and do their own research.
  4. Science writers – Collaborates with communication and publication firms to explain scientific research in an easier way to non-experts.

Pro tip: To get a job in this field, enroll in a Paleontology degree program and gain hands-on experience through internships and research assistantships.

Overview of Paleontology Jobs

Paleontology jobs are very specialised. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were only 1,000 people employed in the US in 2019. But, there is a steady rise in demand for new fossil finds, museums, and teaching roles.

Opportunities are available in universities, research centres and museums worldwide. These include research scientists, curators, field paleontologists, and teachers.

Paleontology is a challenging field, yet there is potential for those with advanced degrees and skills like digital data capture and analysis. A career in this area requires dedication, commitment, and the ability to learn and use new technologies and discoveries.

Types of Paleontology Jobs

Paleontology is a huge field with several sub-disciplines. It has many job options. Research paleontologists, museum curators, government paleontologists and consulting paleontologists are some of them.

Research paleontologists study fossils to learn the Earth’s history. They work in research institutes and universities. Museum curators handle, maintain and interpret fossil collections in museums. They collaborate with other organizations too.

Government paleontologists can work for federal, state or local government agencies. They handle natural resources and cultural heritage sites. Consulting paleontologists partner with private companies and non-profit organizations. They evaluate the impact of development projects on fossils.

The job prospects for paleontologists are quite good. Professionals with advanced degrees, research and communication skills, and a passion for the subject will find great opportunities.

Qualifications and Skills Needed for Paleontology Jobs

How many paleontologist jobs are available? It’s hard to say. Demand changes with the location, industry, and job trends. To secure a job in the field, there are certain qualifications and skills to have.

These include:

  • Education: A Ph.D. in paleontology, geology, or related field is usually needed for higher positions. Bachelor’s level may be enough for entry-level.
  • Fieldwork: Experience in fossil excavation is essential. Candidates with field experience are more likely to be hired.
  • Analytical Skills: Paleontologists need to analyze fossils and interpret findings accurately. They must be able to identify patterns, extract info from data, and draw conclusions.
  • Communication: Paleontologists must have good writing and speaking skills to present their findings.
  • Passion: A passion for fossils and prehistoric life is key for success.

Where to Find Paleontology Jobs

Paleontologists have numerous job possibilities that need advanced degrees and special skills. They are required for research, conservation, environmental advice, teaching and more, all over the world.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,300 paleontologists employed in May 2020.

The main employers for paleontologists are:

  • Academia and research institutions: Professors, researchers and academic contributors in the field of paleontology.
  • Museums and other cultural places: Collecting, conserving and displaying fossils in educative displays.
  • Energy companies and consulting companies: As consultants to identify and oversee fossils during projects.
  • Government Agencies: The Department of Interior, the Forest Service, and the National Parks Service, monitoring the effect of industrial operations with the help of paleontologists.

Benefits of Working in Paleontology

Paleontology is a dream career for many, due to its multiple benefits. For starters, it’s a chance to uncover the past and explore Earth’s origins. Plus, you get to study fossils and extinct species, contributing to scientific knowledge.

Also, there are a range of job opportunities in academics, government, private sectors, research, teaching, museum displays and even entertainment.

Plus, you can work in different locations and environments – deserts, rainforests and even underwater!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there’s ~1,500 paleontologist jobs in the US. Demand is projected to be as high as average for other occupations – so now’s a great time to pursue it!

Challenges of Working in Paleontology

How Many Paleontologist Jobs?

Are there only 400-500 professional paleontologists worldwide? Yes, the job market is limited.

Competition for these positions is fierce due to the popularity of the field and the many qualified candidates.

Paleontologists may need to relocate to find work or supplement their income with teaching or research.

Pro Tip: Build a strong network with professionals in the field. Pursue advanced degrees or certifications. Gain relevant experience and training.


To wrap up, there are a few paleontologist jobs available as it is a very competitive field. But, the need for paleontologists is growing and more chances will open up in government departments, museums, and research centers.

To get a job in the area, it is important to gain experience by doing internships, volunteer work, or fieldwork. Also, networking with people already in the profession will help you get to know about job openings and create links that could be useful for future job chances.

Even though the job market for paleontologists may be tough, those with enthusiasm for the field and readiness to work hard can succeed in this captivating and rewarding career.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many paleontologist jobs are available in the United States?

A: It is difficult to provide an exact number, as job availability can fluctuate. However, in 2019, there were approximately 1,500 paleontologist jobs in the United States.

Q: What level of education is required to become a paleontologist?

A: Most paleontologist positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in paleontology or a related field, such as geology or biology. However, for more advanced positions, a master’s or doctorate degree may be required.

Q: Where do paleontologists typically work?

A: Paleontologists can work in a variety of settings, including universities, museums, government agencies, and research organizations.

Q: What skills are necessary to become a successful paleontologist?

A: Paleontologists should have a strong foundation in science, particularly in biology, geology, and physics. They must also have strong analytical skills and critical thinking abilities, as well as excellent communication skills.

Q: What is the job outlook for paleontologists?

A: The job outlook for paleontologists is positive, with a projected job growth of 5% from 2019 to 2029. However, competition for jobs may be high, as the field is relatively small.

Q: How much do paleontologists typically earn?

A: The average salary for paleontologists in the United States is approximately $70,000 per year. However, salaries can vary depending on education level, years of experience, and job location.