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Geological And Petroleum Technician Career

Career Description

Geological and Petroleum Technicians assist scientists in the use of electrical, sonic, or nuclear measuring instruments in both laboratory and production activities to obtain data indicating potential sources of metallic ore, gas, or petroleum. Analyze mud and drill cuttings.  Chart pressure, temperature, and other characteristics of wells or bore holes.  Investigate and collect information leading to the possible discovery of new oil fields.

Common Work Tasks

  • Measure and record physical and geologic conditions in oil or gas wells, using advanced instruments lowered into the wells or analyzing the mud from the wells
  • Collect and examine geological data or test geological samples to determine their petroleum content and their mineral and element composition
  • Collect information about oil well and gas well drilling operations, geological and geophysical prospecting, and land or lease contracts
  • Create and modify maps, graphs, or diagrams,  using geographical information software and related equipment, and principles of cartography such as coordinate systems, longitude, latitude, elevation,  topography, and map scales
  • Write and present reports of research findings
  • Develop, operate, and maintain geographical information (GIS) computer systems, including hardware, software, plotters,  digitizers, printers, and video cameras
  • Locate and obtain existing geographic information databases
  • Analyze geographic distributions of physical and cultural phenomena on local, regional, continental, or global scales

Other Job Titles

Geological and Petroleum Technicians are also known by other titles, including:

  • Science Technicians
  • Scouts
  • Environmental Scientists
  • Health Scientists

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
There are several ways to qualify for a job as a science technician.  Many employers prefer applicants who have at least 2 years of specialized training or an associate degree in applied science or science-related technology. Because employers’ preferences vary, however, some science technicians have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biology, or forensic science or have completed several science and math courses at a 4-year college.

Good communications skills are important for prospective geological and petroleum technicians in industry, who often need to explain technical matters to persons without statistical expertise. An understanding of business and the economy also is valuable for those who plan to work in private industry.


The median annual salary of a Geological and Petroleum Technician is $50,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $93,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $25,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of geological and petroleum technicians are:

  • Oil and Gas Extraction- $69,160
  • Support Activities for Mining- $45,180
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services - $37,500
  • Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing- $66,950
  • Scientific Research and Development Services  - $44,460

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  9%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 1,000
  • Employment 2006 : 12,000
  • Employment 2016:  13,000
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