Approximately 16,300 geological and petroleum technicians are employed in the United States; about 39 percent of all technicians work in Texas. Technicians are employed by major oil and gas companies. Environmental consulting and environmental engineering firms may also be a source of employment in the private sector. With these firms, geological technicians assist in creating environmental impact studies.
The federal government hires geologists and may employ geological technicians in the Department of the Interior (specifically in the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation) and in the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Commerce.
State agencies, nonprofit research organizations, and state-funded museums are also possible sources of employment for geological technicians.
Prospective geological technicians can look for work in various areas, including private industry and government. The exploration departments of oil and gas companies are the first places to look for a position as a geological technician. Most are multinational corporations and are likely to have many geological technicians on staff in the United States, as well as in overseas departments.
Internships and volunteerships should be considered. During college, you will probably be required to participate in an internship or co-op. Large corporations and professional associations also provide information on internships. Volunteer opportunities are also available.
Advancement for geological technicians depends on the size of the organization they work for and their educational background. At smaller companies and consulting firms, the range of tasks may be quite varied. Geological technicians may perform some tasks that geologists normally do, as well as some clerical duties. At larger companies, the opposite may be true. A geological technician might specialize in well spotting, for example, or supervise a staff of several geological technicians.
Supervisory positions are often available to technicians with several years of on-the-job experience. Typically, these technicians will train new staff in proper procedures and methods, as well as check their work for accuracy before sending it to the geologist.
With additional education and either a master's degree or doctorate, geological technicians can go on to work as geologists, soil scientists, or paleontologists, for example.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
To learn more about the field, read:
- Geology: https://www.geosociety.org/GSA/Publications/Journals/Geology/GSA/Pubs/geology/home.aspx
- GSA Today: https://www.geosociety.org/GSA/Publications/GSA_Today/GSA/GSAToday/Home.aspx
- EARTH: http://www.earthmagazine.org
- Geosphere: https://www.geosociety.org/GSA/Publications/Journals/Geosphere/GSA/Pubs/geosphere/home.aspx
Be willing to relocate. It may open more job opportunities.
Join the Geological Society of America (GSA) as a student or professional member to take advantage of networking opportunities, receive member discounts on publications, and participate in continuing education.
Attend the GSA's annual meeting to make networking contacts, participate in mentorship programs, learn about jobs, and take advantage of continuing education opportunities.