WCJC adds geology emphasis to AA Degree Plan

Danny Glenn, WCJC department head for geology, displays the bone of an extinct elephant found on the Colorado River bank near the city of Wharton.

Beginning this fall, WCJC is offering students the option to add a geology emphasis to their Associate of Arts degree plan. Courses transfer to four-year universities for students who want to earn a bachelor’s degree in geology.

“Now is a great time to major in geology given the high worldwide demand for petroleum,” said Danny Glenn, department head for WCJC’s geology program. “Working in geology is a good career that’s lucrative and it provides the option to travel if that’s something you want to do.”

Many geoscientists are involved in the search for and development of natural resources and minerals, while others work in environmental protection and preservation where they help clean up and reclaim land. Some specialize in a particular aspect of the Earth, such as its oceans.

Glenn said most geology majors enjoy spending time outdoors and are interested in the environment. His own career began as a petroleum pipeline geologist in South America. There he conducted rock surveys for right-of-ways and created topographical maps of the pipeline’s pathway. Energy exploration and mining are just two industries where geologists are employed. Other jobs, according to Glenn, include working as seismologists in earthquake prone areas, as teachers with earth science certification, and as paleontologists in museums.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the 2010 median pay for geoscientists was $82,500. Job growth for the 10-year period ending 2020 is 21 percent, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

WCJC offers classes in both physical and historical geology at its Wharton, Richmond and Sugar Land campuses. Two courses are also offered online. The college’s geology instructors are currently working, or have worked, in the field of geology so they are able to connect the classroom experience and the workplace. Laboratory facilities allow students plenty of “hands-on” geology through the investigation of mineral and rock specimens, fossils,  and geological maps.

“Our lab facilities are excellent – as good as or better than many four-year universities,” said Glenn noting the extensive collection of fossils and rocks at all three WCJC campuses.

For additional information about the WCJC geology program, contact Danny Glenn at 979.532.6506 or 1.800.561.9252, ext. 6506.

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