Geoscience is an all-inclusive term for the sciences related to planet Earth. The formal discipline of the geosciences may include the study of the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere, as well as the interactions between them. Typically, geoscientists/engineers will use tools from physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics to build a quantitative understanding of how the Earth system works and how it has developed into its current state. They use their knowledge to increase our understanding of Earth processes and to improve the quality of human life. Their work and career paths vary widely because the geosciences are so broad and diverse.
The goal of the Geosciences Associate in Science degree program is to provide subject matter usually included in the first two years of a four-year baccalaureate degree program in geosciences. The graduate will normally be able to transfer as a junior into a four-year geosciences program.
Atmospheric scientists study weather processes; the global dynamics of climate; solar radiation and its effects; and the role of atmospheric chemistry in ozone depletion, climate change, and pollution. Meteorology, which is a focus of this option, is the study of the atmosphere and atmospheric phenomena, including the weather.
The five primary employers of forecasters and meteorologists are the National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the military, TV/radio stations, education, and consulting meteorology businesses. There are also many other support scientist/engineer positions related to the technical aspects of atmospheric sciences such as radar, computer science, etc.
Earth scientists study the interactions of the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere in terms of Earth’s history and the processes that occur here. Many earth scientists are considered to be geologists. According to the National Science Foundation, about 125,000 geoscientists work in the United States. Many geoscientists are employed by industries related to oil and natural gas, mining, and water resources.
Many others work for federal and state government agencies. Agencies include the U.S. Geological Survey (Department of the Interior), Department of Energy, U.S. Forest Service (Department of Agriculture), National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Department of Commerce), Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers. State geological surveys or departments dealing with the environment and natural resources all employ geoscientists.