Remote Sensing Technician: Job Description, Salary & Qualifications

The work that remote sensing technicians do can be applied to a number of scientific fields. They provide critical data that's used to inform the work of many types of professionals, including urban planners and geographers.

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Career Definition of a Remote Sensing Technician

A remote sensing technician is responsible for acquiring and interpreting data from photographs. They may also work with digital imagery or thermal energy systems. Their duties can involve determining what data is needed by the professionals they're working with. They then develop a flight plan to acquire the images they need. Once they have the images they start by authenticating the images. They modify the images to enhance the specific data that's relevant to their project. They can then use the data to make recommendations or form conclusions. For example, if a remote sensing technician is assessing a geographical region to determine what issues developers may face if they build in the area, once they've assessed the images they may advise urban planners about the benefits and challenges associated with that proposed development location.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Computer skills, mathematical skills, analytical skills, communication skills, good vision, deductive reasoning skills, mechanical and technological skills
Mean Salary (2017)* $32,335
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 10% (life, physical and social science technicians, all other)

Sources: *Glassdoor.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education & Qualifications

Although individuals with a high school diploma, GED or associate's degree may be considered for some entry-level jobs for remote sensing technician positions, the majority of those who work in this field have a bachelor's degree. Those who are interested in becoming remote sensing technicians should consider taking courses in geography, cartography and meteorology. Once a person has been employed in this field for three years they can pursue ASPRS certification. They must have relevant practical experience, recommendations from other professionals in their field and pass a written exam.

Required Skills

Remote sensing technicians need the computer and technological skills to program flight paths, operate photographic equipment, process data and perform other tasks related to their work. They also need to have good communication skills so that they can clearly understand the objectives of the professionals they're working with and focus on acquiring the information that they need. Analytical skills are important because remote sensing technicians need to be able to review the data that they acquire and assess it thoroughly so that they do not miss critical information when reporting their findings. They need to be able to use the data to form conclusions and to support their conclusions with evidence.

Career Outlook and Salary

Remote sensing technicians earned an average annual income of $32,335 in 2017. This figure was reported by Glassdoor.com. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides data about the outlook for 'life, physical and social science technicians, all other', which includes remote sensing technicians. The BLS expects there to be a 10% increase in jobs in this field from 2016 to 2026.

Related Careers

The links provided here connect to articles about occupations that share some similar aspects with remote sensing technicians. Use these links to learn about these comparable career options and the training requirements to pursue work in mapping, scientific photography, surveying and cartography.

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