Geological and Petroleum Technician

What Does a Geological and Petroleum Technician Do?
Geological and petroleum technicians help petroleum engineers and other workers with oil and gas operations, including the gathering and testing of geological materials to determine petroleum content, as well as mineral and element characteristics. They use highly-technical equipment in lab and production assignments to detect and analyze possible sources of gas, petroleum or metallic ore. Geological and petroleum technicians may analyze wells or bore holes, including its pressure, temperature and other relevant characteristics. Some technicians, referred to as scouts, are in charge of researching and gathering information on oil well and gas well drilling areas, as well as geological areas that are under land or lease contracts to see what areas are plentiful in oil or natural gas. Geological and petroleum technicians’ research and field work is very helpful for discovering new oil fields. Their efforts also add to the country’s independence from foreign oil and advancements in alternative fuels.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Geological and Petroleum Technician?
The employment rate for geological and petroleum technicians will remain stable, with a slight increase of 2 percent by 2018. More technicians will be needed as oil companies seek new resource deposits and alternative ways to meet the world’s increasing demand for petroleum products and natural gas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for technicians greatly depends on the price of oil. For example, when prices are low, companies don’t explore for oil and they cut back on hiring technicians, but when prices are higher, they increase exploration operations and hire more technicians. In general, continually high oil prices will maintain the demand for geological and petroleum technicians. The salary outlook for technicians is rather competitive amongst most engineering technicians and other engineering specialties. Geological and petroleum technicians made an average salary of $53,360 in 2008, according to the Bureau.

How Can I Become a Geological and Petroleum Technician?
Before entering the field of geological and petroleum technology, you will want to earn your associate degree from a postsecondary institution. Most potential technicians earn their associate degree in applied science or another science-related technology. During your degree program, you’ll take classes in science, math and any additional classes that are applicable to your technology specialty. Once you’ve earned the necessary credentials, you’ll be eligible to start an entry-level job at an engineering firm or an oil company. There, you may begin performing the general duties of a geological and petroleum technician, by testing geological materials and assisting in oil and gas exploration operations often under the supervision of an engineer or advanced technician. With time and experience, you will take on more advanced job responsibilities and assist in major oil and gas exploration assignments, new oil field discoveries and advanced testing of geological samples.