Mining Technician: Career Information for Becoming a Mining Technician

Read on to learn what mining technicians do. See about the education and training required for employment. Learn about job prospects and earning potential to see if this job is right for you.

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Career Definition for a Mining Technician

Mining technicians work as part of the preparation, exploration, development, maintenance, or operations segments of mining teams. They might assist metallurgists and chemists by testing rock samples and helping locate natural resource deposits all over the world. They may also work with environmental engineers to ensure that safety standards and government regulations are being followed in the mines, or they might assist industrial engineers by testing the air quality underground for traces of poisonous gases. The career of a mining technician varies according to the individual specialization and the demands of markets.

Education Associate's degree
Job Skills Strong math skills,knowledge of natural sciences, detail-oriented, flexibility, and a willingness to accept industry dangers
Median Salary (May 2015)* $35,760 (for extraction worker helpers)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 13% (for extraction worker helpers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Required Education

Mining technicians require at least an associate degree in mining technology, mining engineering, or a related science. Since most mining technicians rely heavily on knowledge of math, chemistry, metallurgy, geology, and other sciences, mining technicians can also enter the field from a science or chemistry background. Mining technicians with managerial or administrative experience can also work as production managers or shift supervisors. With more advanced education in engineering, mining technicians can train to become engineers, managers, or mine shift supervisors.

Required Skills

The abilities needed to be a mining technician vary according to the specialization. Strong math skills and a vast knowledge of natural sciences, especially geology and chemistry, will be helpful. Mining technicians may work in an office, in a laboratory, in a mine, or all of the above, so they need to be careful and detail-oriented, as well as flexible and willing to accept a certain level of danger that comes with the industry.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the BLS, jobs in this field are predicted to increase 13% from 2014-2024, and they paid a median salary of $35,760 in 2015. Because job descriptions can vary so widely for mining technicians, the salaries earned by techs also vary. The BLS reported that continuous mining machine operators earned a median salary of $48,620 in May 2015. During this time, jobs for these professionals were found primarily in mining states, such as Nevada, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, or Virginia.

Alternate Career Option

Those interested in working in the mining field may also want to consider the following job:

Mining Engineer

Mining engineers may design mines for the extraction of natural resources safely and efficiently, or they work with other scientists and engineers to identify natural resource deposits, or they work on the research and development of new mining machinery and processes. A mining engineer must complete an ABET-accredited bachelor's degree program. In states where mining engineers might work with the public, a professional license is needed; it requires two exams and a minimum of work experience, although state requirements can vary. Jobs for mining engineers are expected to increase 6% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS, and these jobs paid a median salary of $94,040 in 2015.


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