become a geological technician

What does a Geological or Petroleum Technician do?

A geological or petroleum technician attempts to discover valuable resources by analyzing geological samples of minerals and soil. They support engineers and scientists in extracting and exploring natural sources like crude oil, minerals, and the detection of natural gas. Geological technicians indicate the potential for exploration to determine chemical or physical properties and test geological samples to check if they meet required quality standards. Watch a video and learn what a Geological or Petroleum Technician does:

How to Become a Geological or Petroleum Technician

To become a geological or petroleum technician, you usually need an associate’s degree in applied sciences or a certification in science or technology at a minimum; however, most employers prefer a bachelor’s degree. Some schools have internships and hands-on programs where you can gain experience while attending school.-however, some employers may also offer apprenticeships. 

While attending colleges, universities, or a vocational school, seek programs in geosciences, mining, or related subjects, such as geographic information systems (GIS). These programs will include geology, math, computer science, chemistry, and physics coursework. 

In addition, some geological and hydrologic technicians pursue certifications in Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER). This includes skilled training in health hazards, personal protective equipment, site safety, and additional state or national regulations. There are also voluntary certificates from the American Institute of Hydrology (AIH).

Job Description of a Geological or Petroleum Technician

A geological or petroleum technician determines the content and characteristics of soil samples soil and the minerals are analyzed and tested using testing and laboratory equipment. They analyze samples of earth or liquid to assist engineers and scientists in determining if the chemical or physical properties meet the requirements needed.

Geologists assist in hydrographic, geological, geochemical, geophysical, and/or oceanographic surveys. They also assist in exploratory drilling, underground mine surveys, well logging, and prospecting field trip operations. They assemble and prepare cross sections, sketches, and geological maps to figure out information from section descriptions, well logs, and aerial photos that assists in the overall analyzation of a project.

A geological or petroleum technician should have knowledge of electronics and computers that would include chips, circuit boards, hardware and software, and the programs they must use on-the-job. They need to have knowledge of chemistry, geography, and physics. Most geological or petroleum technicians work in laboratories or offices. However, they also spend time in the field. Most technician’s work full-time.

Job satisfaction is one of the biggest reasons to become a Geological or Petroleum Technician. They love their jobs! Scientists and Engineers respect them for helping find valuable resources, predicting earthquakes, and saving lives! They are in high demand, which means jobs are plentiful.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

The University of Queensland Australia offers a free Future of Mining course on (link opens in a new tab) with the option to pay a small fee receive a verified certificate upon completion of the course.

By taking this course, you’ll learn:

  • The role of minerals in society and their contribution to sustainable development.
  • The current issues and challenges confronting the sector.
  • Emerging technologies and their impact across the value chain.
  • The contribution of mining to the concept of the circular economy.
  • New frameworks and policies for resource developments in the 21st century.

Curtain University offers a free Business of Mining course on (link opens in a new tab) with the option to pay a small fee receive a verified certificate upon completion of the course.

By taking this course, you’ll learn:

  • Discover how new mineral deposits are found and examine the economic factors that govern their development.
  • Plan the complete life cycle of a mine, from initial infrastructure requirements through to operation, closure and rehabilitation.
  • Experience the ‘living plan’ of a mine and see how extraction and processing of minerals is constantly adjusted to suit market conditions.
  • Investigate how economics and market forces influence the decision to close a mine.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Geological and Petroleum Technicians.

National Center for O*NET Development. 19-4041.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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