Summary Report for:
19-4041.02 - Geological Sample Test Technicians
Test or analyze geological samples, crude oil, or minerals to detect presence of petroleum, gas, or mineral deposits indicating potential for exploration or production or to determine physical or chemical properties to ensure that products meet quality standards.
Sample of reported job titles: Core Inspector, Electron Microprobe Operator, Environmental Field Services Technician, Environmental Sampling Technician, Laboratory Technician, Materials Technician, Organic Section Technical Lead, Physical Science Technician, Quality Control Technician (QC Technician), Research Associate
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
- Test and analyze samples to determine their content and characteristics, using laboratory apparatus or testing equipment.
- Collect or prepare solid or fluid samples for analysis.
- Assemble, operate, and maintain field and laboratory testing, measuring, and mechanical equipment, working as part of a crew when required.
- Compile and record testing and operational data for review and further analysis.
- Adjust or repair testing, electrical, or mechanical equipment or devices.
- Supervise well exploration, drilling activities, or well completions.
- Inspect engines for wear or defective parts, using equipment or measuring devices.
- Prepare notes, sketches, geological maps, or cross sections.
- Participate in geological, geophysical, geochemical, hydrographic, or oceanographic surveys, prospecting field trips, exploratory drilling, well logging, or underground mine survey programs.
- Plot information from aerial photographs, well logs, section descriptions, or other databases.
- Assess the environmental impacts of development projects on subsurface materials.
- Collaborate with hydrogeologists to evaluate groundwater or well circulation.
- Prepare, transcribe, or analyze seismic, gravimetric, well log, or other geophysical or survey data.
- Participate in the evaluation of possible mining locations.
- Participate in the evaluation of possible geothermal energy plant locations.
- Test and analyze samples from potential underground carbon sequestration sites.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Bi distillation units — Water distillation units
- Conductivity meters — Conductivity indicators; Terrain conductivity meters
- Darkfield microscopes — Phase contrast microscopes
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras
- Dissolved oxygen meters
- Distance meters — Electronic distance meters
- Dropping pipettes — Digital micropipettes; Glass dropping pipettes
- Drying cabinets or ovens — Laboratory drying ovens
- Electronic toploading balances — Top-loading electronic balances
- Extracting equipment for laboratories — Microwave digestion systems
- Fluorescent microscopes — Fluorescence microscopes
- Gas chromatographs — Gas chromatography equipment
- Glass crucibles — Glass laboratory crucibles
- Gravimeters — Gravitational field indicators
- High pressure liquid chromatograph chromatography — High pressure liquid chromatograph HPLC equipment
- Hydrometers — Digital hydrometers
- Inductively coupled plasma ICP spectrometers — Inductively coupled plasma ICP optical emission spectrometers
- Infrared spectrometers — Fourier transfer infrared FTIR spectrometers
- Jaw crushers
- Laboratory bailers — Water sampling bailers
- Laboratory balances — Electronic laboratory balances
- Laboratory beakers — Glass beakers
- Laboratory burets — General purpose burets
- Laboratory crushers or pulverizers — Chipmunk crushers; Laboratory pulverizers; Rotary pulverizers; Shatterboxes
- Laboratory flasks — Erlenmeyer flasks; Volumetric flasks
- Laboratory funnels — Glass funnels
- Laboratory graduated cylinders — Glass graduated cylinders
- Laboratory sifting equipment — Sieve shakers
- Laboratory vacuum pumps
- Magnetic stirrers — Heated magnetic stirrers
- Magnetometer geophysical instruments — Cryogenic magnetometers; Proton magnetometers; Spinner magnetometers
- Mass spectrometers
- Multi gas monitors — Carbon hydrogen nitrogen CHN analyzers
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Organic carbon analyzers — Dissolved organic carbon analyzers
- Peristaltic pumps — Groundwater sampling peristaltic pumps
- Personal computers
- pH meters — Digital pH meters
- Polarizing microscopes — Binocular polarizing microscopes
- Portable data input terminals — Portable dataloggers
- Pressure sensors — Piezometers
- Radarbased surveillance systems — Ground penetrating radar GPR systems
- Robotic or automated liquid handling systems — Automatic burets
- Rock cutters — Rock saws
- Salinity meter — Dissolved salt meters
- Scanning electron microscopes — Scanning electron microscopes SEM
- Seismic recorders or seismographs — Digital seismographs
- Single gas monitors — Digital chlorine testers
- Soil core sampling apparatus — Sample microsplitters
- Spectrofluorimeters or fluorimeters — X ray fluorescence XRF spectrometers
- Spectrophotometers — Fluorescence spectrophotometers; Optical particle detectors; Ultraviolet-Visible UV/VIS spectrophotometers
- Still cameras — 35 millimeter cameras
- Sulfur dioxide analyzers or detectors — Total sulfur analyzers
- Test sieves — Laboratory sieves
- X ray diffraction equipment — Single crystal x ray diffractometers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — Landmark Graphics GeoGraphix software; Parallel Geoscience SPW software; Seismic Micro-Technology KINGDOM
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software; Midland Valley 2DMove
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite
- Map creation software — Golden Software Surfer; Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE; Martin D Adamiker's TruFlite; Surface III * (see all 6 examples)
- 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.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- 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.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- 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.
- 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.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- 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.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Equipment Selection — Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- 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.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- 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.
- 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).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- 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.
- 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.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- 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.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- 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.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- 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.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
- 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.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
Detailed Work Activities
- Record research or operational data.
- Analyze geological or geographical data.
- Calibrate scientific or technical equipment.
- Inspect equipment to ensure proper functioning.
- Collaborate on research activities with scientists or technical specialists.
- Maintain laboratory or technical equipment.
- Analyze geological samples.
- Operate laboratory or field equipment.
- Prepare maps.
- Direct natural resources extraction projects.
- Research environmental impact of industrial or development activities.
- Research geological features or processes.
- Locate natural resources using geospatial or other environmental data.
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 77% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 55% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 52% responded “Extremely important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 64% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 48% responded “Important results.”
- Contact With Others — 44% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 45% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 42% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 39% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 41% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 40% responded “Very important.”
- Time Pressure — 51% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Letters and Memos — 67% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 32% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Spend Time Standing — 45% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 37% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 44% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 41% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 46% responded “Important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 27% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 38% responded “Every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|45||Some college, no degree|
Interest code: RIC
- 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.
- 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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- 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.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and 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.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others 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.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
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.