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What Geological and Petroleum Technicians Do

Geological and petroleum technicians provide support to scientists and engineers in exploring and extracting natural resources, such as minerals, oil, and natural gas.


Geological and petroleum technicians typically do the following:

In the field, geological and petroleum technicians use sophisticated equipment such as seismic instruments and gravity-measuring devices to gather geological data. They also use handtools to collect samples of rocks and other materials for scientific analysis.

Geological and petroleum technicians use computers and laboratory equipment to analyze data and samples collected in the field. They also use mapping software and geographic information systems (GIS) to catalog and plot data. With the results of their analysis, they can evaluate a site to gauge its potential for further exploration and development or they can monitor quality at an existing production site.

Geological and petroleum technicians often work on geological prospecting and surveying teams under the supervision of scientists and engineers who evaluate their work for accuracy and determine whether the site should be further explored. In addition, they might work with scientists and technicians in other fields. For example, geological and petroleum technicians might work with environmental scientists and technicians to monitor the environmental impact of drilling and other activities.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition