Career in Paleontology


The discipline of Paleontology concerns the scientific study of fossils and remains of organisms which existed thousands of years ago. It involves not only an extensive investigation into such remains but also inquiries into the climates, the chemical composition of the soil, ancient pollen and past extinctions as well. While a career in research is still the primary choice among upcoming individuals, there has been significant growth in industries of journalism, film and documentation, museology, etc. In this blog, we will give a rundown to some of the top careers in paleontology that you must explore!

Quick Read: Taxonomy

Courses & Universities

Before moving forward, here are a few of major study abroad destinations and universities which across the globe which offer courses in paleontology:

University Location Times Higher Education Ranking 2021 Paleontology 
[Palaeontology] Courses
University of Chicago USA 10th PhD in Vertebrate Palaeontology
University of Toronto Canada 18th Bachelor of Science-Palaeontology
University of
UK 30th MS Research-Palaeontology
& Geobiology
University of
UK 51st MSc Research-Paleontology
MPhil Palaeontology
PhD Palaeontology
University of Bristol UK 91st BSc Palaeontology & Evolution
[Hons]MSc Palaeontology & Evolution
The University of
Australia 118th BSc Palaeontology
BSc Palaeontology [Adv]

Also Read: 

Career Options in Paleontology

Owing to the research-oriented nature of the field of paleontology, career paths revolve around the field of academics. However, with interest in archaeology and paleontology growing, an increasing number of individuals are showing interest to venture into the discipline. In addition to that, activities of digitisation, museology, preservation efforts of sites also need qualified professionals with a solid understanding of paleontology.


One of most common career paths for budding paleontologists, as a professor or lecturer at universities, you will engage in imparting knowledge to students at bachelor’s, master’s or higher levels. Alongside teaching responsibilities, many professors also carry out research activities, paper publishing and collaborate with other researchers domestically as well as abroad. 

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Museum Curator/Manager

If you wish to give shape to your fascination for museums, a degree in paleontology sets you up quite nicely. As a museum curator, you will be in charge of proper preservation, management, show-casing of displayed items which may range from prehistoric periods to even present-day excavations. Furthermore, as museums are increasingly shifting towards digitisation, carrying out conversion tasks may also be required. Senior-level officials can expect to work in administrative and public policy positions as well.


Naturally the most favoured career option, a paleontologist works on collection, analysis and interpretation of samples. They work on different work sites ranging from forests and caves to ice-capped mountains to deserts. Also, they also ensure the collected specimens are efficiently preserved for further study. Research areas include invertebrate paleontology, plant fossils, fish, prehistoric living organisms, ecology and climate. Actual job tasks combine both lab and fieldwork with many tasks involving collaboration with forensic experts, geologists, botanists, etc.

Science Journalist/Illustrator

In the media industry as well, paleontologists are making headway with the recognition of science reporting, writing, photography, etc. As a science journalist with a paleontology background, you can expect to work at popular magazines, media companies and documentary-making firms, the most prominent of which include National Geographic and Nature, among others. Similarly, if you have an interest in painting, you can take up illustrating or cartoon-making as a profession at news and publishing organisations. 

Other Pathways

Here are a few more specific options:

  • Ichnologist: They conduct an in-depth study of trace fossils or research into impressions left by any biological behaviour in rocks, tracks, etc. 
  • Micropaleontologist: They study microscopic analysis of fossils during oil and gas excavation process, mining, water pipelines, etc
  • Paleoclimatology: They study the history of the ocean and climate-related changes including biogeochemical cycles.
  • Human Paleontologist: They conduct the history of humans on earth specifically their origins, growth and pre-human forms.
  • Paleoecologist: They focus on the study of the history of ecological systems on earth, particularly, microfossils, air-trapped chemicals, etc. 

Paleontology is a growing field with innumerable career options and a higher degree from a renowned gears you up for profession at universities, research organisations, etc. If you wish to enter this field, take assistance from Leverage Edu’s team of mentors in a free 30 minutes career counselling session and make an informed decision towards a rewarding career.

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