How to Become a Geophysical Technician: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Mar 05, 2020

Research the requirements to become a geophysical technician. Learn about the job description and read the step-by-step process to start a career in geophysical technology.

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Be a Geophysical Technician

Geophysics involves using physics, geology and mathematics to study the Earth. Geophysical technicians operate instruments, collect data and record results for scientific projects, often under the supervision of geoscientists, geological researchers or engineers. They perform the majority of their duties in the field or in laboratories. Texas is a good location to work as a geophysical technician because it has the highest employment level.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Geology or geophysics
Experience 2-5 years
Key Skills Excellent written/oral communication and analytical skills; ability to work within a team; familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite and scientific software (such as GeoGraphix, ArcGIS and IHS Kingdom); ability to operate data collection equipment
Median Salary (2018)* $53,300 (for geological and petroleum technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Geophysical technicians have bachelor's degrees in geology or geophysics. They are expected to be analytical and possess excellent written and oral communication skills. They must be able to work within a team, operate data collection equipment, and use Microsoft Office Suite and scientific software. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for geological and petroleum technicians, which include geophysical technicians, was $53,300 in 2018.

How to Be a Geophysical Technician

What steps do I need to take to become a geophysical technician?

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Bachelor's degree programs in geology or geophysics provide a foundation for technician careers. Both programs include foundation courses in chemistry, calculus and physics. They may also cover field methods, mineralogy, sedimentology, petrology, earth structure, plate tectonics, statistics and computing methods. Some courses might include work in a laboratory.

It's a good idea to complete an internship. Students can participate in geophysics or geology internships to gain experience in the field. Duties may include identifying land for specific uses, analyzing seismic activity, creating subsurface maps or implementing projects with geological teams.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Geophysical technicians typically begin their career under the supervision of scientists or experienced technicians. They may also gain experience in technical positions for oil and gas companies. These positions allow technicians to become familiar with field equipment and computer modeling software. As they develop their skills and learn industry procedures and regulations, a process that typically takes from 2 to 5 years, they might be able to work on more complex projects and gain greater autonomy. Candidates who demonstrate knowledge and teamwork skills may advance to supervisory roles.

Step 3: Career Advancement Options

Consider continuing education, such as a master's degree or a Ph.D. Experience working as a geophysical technician can help prepare for an advanced degree. A geoscientist is similar to a geophysical technician. However, most positions require a master's degree. Additionally, a Ph.D. is required for most research and college teaching positions.

Geophysical technicians help study the earth by operating instruments, collecting data, and recording results. They have college degrees and excellent communication skills, along with the ability to use relevant equipment and software, and they earn a median annual salary of $53,300.

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