Summary Report for:
19-4041.01 - Geophysical Data Technicians
Measure, record, or evaluate geological data, using sonic, electronic, electrical, seismic, or gravity-measuring instruments to prospect for oil or gas. May collect or evaluate core samples or cuttings.
Sample of reported job titles: Exploration Manager, Field Engineer, Geological E-Logger, Geological Technician, Geoscience Technician, Geoscientist, Geotechnician, Observer, Soils Technician, Technical Assistant
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Prepare notes, sketches, geological maps, or cross-sections.
- Read and study reports in order to compile information and data for geological and geophysical prospecting.
- Interview individuals, and research public databases in order to obtain information.
- Assemble, maintain, or distribute information for library or record systems.
- Operate or adjust equipment or apparatus used to obtain geological data.
- Plan and direct activities of workers who operate equipment to collect data.
- Set up or direct set-up of instruments used to collect geological data.
- Record readings in order to compile data used in prospecting for oil or gas.
- Supervise oil, water, or gas well-drilling activities.
- Collect samples or cuttings, using equipment or hand tools.
- Create photographic recordings of information, using equipment.
- Measure geological characteristics used in prospecting for oil or gas, using measuring instruments.
- Evaluate and interpret core samples and cuttings, and other geological data used in prospecting for oil or gas.
- Diagnose or repair malfunctioning instruments or equipment, using manufacturers' manuals and hand tools.
- Prepare and attach packing instructions to shipping containers.
- Apply new technologies, such as improved seismic imaging techniques, to locate untapped oil or natural gas deposits.
- Collect data on underground areas, such as reservoirs, that could be used in carbon sequestration operations.
- Collect geological data from potential geothermal energy plant sites.
- Compile data used to address environmental issues, such as the suitability of potential landfill sites.
- Conduct geophysical surveys of potential sites for wind farms or solar installations to determine their suitability.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Augers — Hand augers
- Binoculars — Surveillance binoculars
- Conductivity meters — Terrain conductivity meters
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras
- Distance meters — Electronic distance meters
- Drying cabinets or ovens — Laboratory drying ovens
- Geological compasses — Directional compasses; Pocket transits
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Gravimeters — Gravitational field indicators
- Hammers — Geological hammers
- Height gauges — Abney levels; Survey altimeters
- Hydrometers — Digital hydrometers
- Infrared spectrometers — Fourier transfer infrared FTIR spectrometers
- Jaw crushers
- Laboratory bailers — Water sampling bailers
- Laboratory crushers or pulverizers — Laboratory pulverizers
- Laboratory sifting equipment — Sieve shakers
- Levels — Electronic digital levels; Hand levels
- Magnetometer geophysical instruments — Magnetometers; Proton magnetometers
- Magnifiers — Hand lenses
- Map measurers — Planimeters
- Measuring rods — Stadia rods
- Multi gas monitors — Carbon hydrogen nitrogen CHN analyzers
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Peristaltic pumps — Groundwater sampling peristaltic pumps
- Personal computers
- Picks — Rock picks
- Pneumatic rock drills — Power rock coring drills
- Portable data input terminals — Portable dataloggers
- Radarbased surveillance systems — Ground penetrating radar GPR systems
- Rangefinders — Laser rangefinders
- Rock cutters — Rock saws
- Scientific calculator — Scientific calculators
- Seismic recorders or seismographs — Digital seismographs
- Soil core sampling apparatus — Earth drills; Hydraulic vibracorers; Soil augers; Soil core samplers (see all 5 examples)
- Still cameras — 35 millimeter cameras
- Sulfur dioxide analyzers or detectors — Total sulfur analyzers
- Test sieves — Laboratory sieves
- Theodolites — Electronic digital theodolites; Total stations
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — IHS PETRA; Landmark Graphics GeoGraphix software; Schlumberger GeoFrame software; Techsia Techlog (see all 10 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software; Dynamic Graphics EarthVision; Midland Valley 2DMove
- Data base reporting software — SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports
- Data base user interface and query software — Database software; Microsoft Access
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite
- Map creation software — Clark Labs IDRISI Andes; ESRI ArcGIS software; Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE; Surface III * (see all 7 examples)
- Mobile location based services software — Juniper Systems LandMark Mobile
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Detailed Work Activities
- Record research or operational data.
- Collect information from people through observation, interviews, or surveys.
- Maintain laboratory or technical equipment.
- Collect environmental data or samples.
- Collect geographical or geological field data.
- Set up laboratory or field equipment.
- Analyze geological samples.
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
- Collect archival data.
- Document events or evidence, using photographic or audiovisual equipment.
- Operate laboratory or field equipment.
- Prepare maps.
- Compile geographic or related data.
- Direct natural resources extraction projects.
- Survey land or properties.
- Locate natural resources using geospatial or other environmental data.
- Direct technical activities or operations.
- Compile environmental or climatological data.
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 87% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 51% responded “Some freedom.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 50% responded “Some freedom.”
- Contact With Others — 57% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 65% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 56% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 50% responded “40 hours.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 42% responded “Very important results.”
- Time Pressure — 51% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 42% responded “Extremely important.”
- Letters and Memos — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 28% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 30% responded “Extremely important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 32% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Level of Competition — 39% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Deal With External Customers — 30% responded “Not important at all.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
Interest code: CRI
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Geological and Petroleum Technicians.
Employment data collected from Geological and Petroleum Technicians.
Industry data collected from Geological and Petroleum Technicians.
|Median wages (2014)||$26.35 hourly, $54,810 annual|
|Employment (2012)||16,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Faster than average (15% to 21%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||8,100|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Geological and Petroleum Technicians . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.