How to Become a Geological or Petroleum Technician
Geological and petroleum technicians use laboratory equipment such as microscopes to analyze samples collected in the field.
Most employers prefer applicants who have an associate’s degree or 2 years of postsecondary training in applied science or science-related technology. Geological and petroleum technicians also receive on-the-job training.
Although some entry-level positions require only a high school diploma, most employers prefer applicants who have at least an associate’s degree or 2 years of postsecondary training in applied science or a science-related technology. Geological and petroleum technician jobs that are data intensive or otherwise highly technical may require at least a bachelor’s degree.
Many community colleges and technical institutes offer programs in geosciences, petroleum, mining, or a related technology such as geographic information systems (GIS). Community colleges offer associate’s degree programs designed to provide an easy transition to bachelor’s degree programs at colleges and universities; such programs can be useful for future career advancement.
Technical institutes typically offer 1-year certificate programs and 2-year associate’s degree programs. Technical institutes offer technical training that usually includes less theory and offers fewer general education courses than community colleges.
Regardless of the degree program, most students take classes in geology, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, and physics. Many schools also offer internships and cooperative-education programs that help students gain experience while attending school. Jobseekers who have this type of experience may have better prospects.
Analytical skills. Geological and petroleum technicians examine data, using a variety of complex techniques, including laboratory experimentation and computer modeling.
Communication skills. Geological and petroleum technicians explain their methods and findings through oral and written reports to scientists, engineers, managers, and other technicians. Therefore, they must speak and write clearly.
Critical-thinking skills. Geological and petroleum technicians must use their best judgment when interpreting scientific data and determining what is relevant to their work.
Interpersonal skills. Geological and petroleum technicians need to be able to work well with others and as part of a team.
Physical stamina. To do fieldwork, geological and petroleum technicians need to be in good physical shape to hike to remote locations while carrying testing and sampling equipment.
Most geological and petroleum technicians receive on-the-job training under the supervision of technicians who have more experience. During training, new technicians gain hands-on experience using field and laboratory equipment, as well as computer programs such as modeling and mapping software. The length of training can vary with the technician’s previous experience, education, and specifics of the job.