Geology technicians collect, examine, identify and test earth resources, such as rocks and minerals. While many jobs are available in the fields of drilling and mining, research technician or lab assistant positions are also found in academia, government agencies and private industries. Geology technicians generally need bachelor's degrees to find entry-level employment.
Geology Technician Job Description
Geology technicians typically work in the mining, oil and gas extraction industries. These jobs are often performed outdoors and in remote locations, requiring workers to be on site for several days at a time. Work consists of collecting samples and identifying their mineral content using both manual and computer equipment. Technicians prepare reports of their findings and submit them to other members of the petroleum prospecting and extraction team.
Research geological technician jobs are found at museums, archaeological sites, urban planning firms, highway departments, water testing labs and geophysical exploration firms. Work in these fields may be performed on site or in labs. Technicians are tasked with testing, identifying and analyzing rock and mineral specimens.
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Required Education and Skills
|Degree Level||Associate; bachelor's degree often required|
|Degree Field(s)||Geology, petroleum geology, mining, or related field|
|Key Skills||Communication and research skills; familiarity with geological equipment|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||12% growth|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$55,610 (for geology and petroleum technicians)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that a bachelor's degree qualifies individuals for entry-level positions. Some companies may consider geology technicians with an associate's degree, and internships may be obtained while completing a degree program.
Relevant courses include mineralogy, stratigraphy, geomorphology, aerial photography interpretation and geographic information systems (GIS). Courses on the geology of particular regions may be helpful if a student is interested in working in a certain geographic location. Math and statistical methods are used frequently by geological technicians, thus coursework in these areas is useful.
Bachelor's degree programs in petroleum geology or mining are available to students who want to focus on a specific industry. These programs may cover skills like mud logging and other prospect generation techniques.
Research results are communicated to superiors though written and oral reports. Communication skills are an asset, as is the ability to discuss technical information with non-scientists.
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual salary for geology and petroleum technicians was $55,610 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
It also projects that between 2014 and 2024, geology and petroleum technician jobs will grow by 12%, which is faster than the average for all occupations. New jobs will result from the growing demand for oil and natural gas and increasing prices, which mean more technicians will be needed for exploration and extraction work.
Geological technicians generally work outdoors, in remote locations or in labs, at a variety of places, like museums, urban planning firms, and water testing labs.