Earth Science

Earth science students at Oakton are curious to understand the scientific workings of the earth's spheres (rocks, water, air and life). They also have a passion for preserving our natural environment as they contemplate how societies have related to the world—past, present, and future.

Oakton’s earth science faculty have more than 60 years of combined experience in teaching the mysteries of the earth. The curriculum includes courses for both majors and non-science majors in geology, environmental science, astronomy, oceanography, and meteorology.

Lab-based courses enable students to study geologic formations visually. You’ll study courses in geology, weather and climate, geography, oceanography in addition to basic Earth Science courses. Credit opportunities also exist for high school students.

Explore the exciting field of geology—a field that has the potential to make the world more just for all who inhabit it. 

Degree and Pre-Major

Oakton offers an associate in science (A.S.) for students who wish to pursue a bachelor of science at a four-year college or university. If you plan to pursue a four-year degree in earth science, we recommend our earth science pre-major, which provides the smoothest transfer experience.

Oakton offers an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree for students intending to transfer into baccalaureate programs in fields such as engineering, mathematics or the sciences. Oakton’s A.S. degree is offered with emphasis for either Mathematics/Computer Science or Science majors.

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Our pre-major is recommended for students who are considering completing a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Science after transferring to a four-year institution. It is designed for students who have not decided upon a specific four-year college or university. 

Once you have selected your transfer school, consult the Office of Advising, Transitions and Student Success, as well as the transfer institution's catalog. This will help you select courses that will meet both Oakton's and your transfer school's requirements.

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Job Outlook

Geoscientists typically need a bachelor’s degree for entry-level jobs. For some positions, employers may prefer to hire candidates who have a master’s degree. 

The employment of geoscientists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 3,100 openings for geoscientists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

The median annual wage for geoscientists was $93,580 in May 2020.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Potential Careers

There's a variety of careers you can pursue with an Earth Science degree. Among the careers you can get after you complete your degree are: 

  • Geologist
  • Hydrologist
  • Oceanographer
  • Seismologist
  • Volcanologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Environmental scientist

Meet Your Faculty

Oakton's professors and lecturers are experts in their fields with advanced degrees and years of real-world experience.

Chad Landrie, Chair
Professor of Chemistry
B.A. Monmouth College
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Chicago
Office: 109, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Valeria Benson-Lira
Assistant Professor of Physical Science
B.A. Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores De Monterrey
M.A. Arizona State University
Office: 138, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Part-Time Faculty

Richard DiMaio
B.S. Univ of Wisconsin-Madison
M.S. Northern ILL Univ
Office: 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

David LoBue
A.S. College of Lake County
B.A. Arizona State Univ
B.S. Arizona State Univ
M.S. Univ of Kansas
Office: 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

William Tong
B.S. University of Illinois
M.S. Northeastern Illinois University
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Raymond Wiggers
B.S. Purdue Univ
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Julie Wulff
B.S. Univ of ILL Urbana
M.S. Univ of ILL Urbana
Ph.D. Ohio State Univ
Office: 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

Contact Us