How Do I Become a Geology Technician?

Explore the career requirements for a geology technician. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, salary and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do Geology Technicians Do?

Geology technicians work as assistants for geologists. Most specialize in either field work or lab work. Those who work in the field collect relevant specimens, such as rocks and soil, and prepare them for analysis in the lab. Those who work in the lab run tests and compile data for analysis and interpretation. Depending on the type of lab in which they work, some geology technicians divide their time between both spheres.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Associate's degree
Education Field of Study Geology, applied science
Key Skills Field and lab work, sample testing, data analysis, report writing
Job Growth (2014-2024) 12%*
Average Salary (2015) $60,710*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What is a Geology Technician?

As a geology or geological technician, your main function would be to assist geologists in gathering and testing geological samples of the Earth. You may perform such tasks to help geologists determine what land is eligible for oil or gas exploration, or to prepare lease contracts on land for further geological study.

When you work as a geology technician, you may work in the field, the laboratory or both. You work under the direction of geologists to collect materials, catalogue findings, set up experiments and organize research. You also set up and clean laboratory equipment, track and record findings, and help to create detailed reports.

What Education Will I Need?

If you are interested in working as a geology technician, you will most likely need some form of postsecondary education or training. You might consider completing an associate's degree or certificate program in geology. Such a program should provide you with a basic knowledge of geological sciences, physics, chemistry and mathematics. Many of them also include on-site field trips and hands-on laboratory sessions. They should provide you with basic scientific skills and the technical proficiency necessary to become a geological technician.

You might also consider completing an internship or on-the-job training program with an experienced geological technician. While completing such a program, you'll gain hands-on instruction in how to set up and use laboratory equipment, and gather and organize samples.

What Might I Do to Advance in the Field?

If you have a few years of experience working as a geology technician and are interested in advancing to the position of a geologist, you should consider earning both a bachelor's and a master's degree in geology. Most scientists are required to have at least a graduate degree in the field before they can obtain a research or consulting position.

What is the Outlook for this Career?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that geological and petroleum technicians held 16,820 jobs across the country in 2015, earning an average annual salary of $60,710. Most geology technicians working in 2015 were employed by mining support services, the oil and gas extraction industry and architectural and engineering companies. During the 2014-2024 decade, geology technicians can expect a faster-than-average job growth of 12%, driven by the increase in the global population and the number of industrialized countries.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Technician positions are available in a variety of scientific areas other than geology. For instance, as a chemical technician, you would work in a chemistry research lab, where your job would include running chemical experiments and maintaining laboratory instruments. Another option is a job as a clinical laboratory technician, where you would conduct tests on blood and tissue samples for diagnostic or medical research purposes. In order to get either of these jobs, you need to hold an associate's degree.

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