Geological and Petroleum Tech Careers
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The average value of the Associate degree needed to become a Geological and petroleum technicians is $1,001,036.00.
Points of Interest
Investigative occupations within Geological and Petroleum Technician Careers often involve work of a more mental or intellectual nature that requires extensive thinking, as individuals search out facts and figure solutions to problems.
Realistic occupations within the Geological and Petroleum field, by contrast, frequently include activities that need hands-on practical solutions to problems. These technicians may encounter real-world materials such as machinery, wood, tools, and even animals and plants. A number of those occupations require outdoor work and in that case, may not require close work with others, or extensive paperwork.
Some of the duties involved in Geological and Petroleum Technicians Careers include using geographical information software on computers and related equipment, incorporating cartography principles such as topography, elevation, latitude, longitude, map scales and coordinate systems. Operate and maintain geographical computer information systems, including the software, hardware, video cameras and printers, and gathering and compiling of geographic data from aerial photographs, satellite imagery, field observations, censuses and existing maps.
Nature of the Work
Geological and petroleum technicians are assistants to scientists who use nuclear, sonic or electrical instruments to measure both production and laboratory activities in order to obtain information that indicates a potential source of petroleum, gas, or metallic ore. They bore holes to chart characteristics of wells such as temperature and pressure, and analyze drill and mud cuttings, as well as collecting information, and investigate their findings for the possibility of discovering new oil fields.
Geological and petroleum technicians help improve and invent processes and products that aid in development and research, and use the theories and principles of mathematics and science. Their individual jobs, however, have more of a practical orientation than those of scientists. The technicians make observations, calculate and record results, monitor experiments, set up, maintain and operate laboratory instruments, and at times develop conclusions. Detailed logs must be kept of all parts of their work. Those who are involved in production work may ensure the quality of products by testing for the proper ingredient proportion for strength, durability, or purity. The role of geological and petroleum technicians has expanded as laboratory procedures and instruments became progressively more complex. Now, in addition to routine tasks, many of these technicians develop laboratory procedures and adapt them, under a scientist’s direction, to devise solutions to problems, and interpret data to achieve the best results. Technicians must have the knowledge and the expertise to recognize if laboratory equipment is malfunctioning, and the ability to adjust the settings if it becomes necessary. Occupational titles for geological and petroleum technicians, as most technicians, are a close match to those of the scientists who work in the same disciplines. Therefore, the technicians follow the scientists in learning their skills and specialization.
Some Geological and petroleum technicians, called scouts, gather information about gas well and oil well drilling operations, lease or land contracts, as well as geophysical and geological prospecting. These technicians assist in determining the mineral and element composition, and the petroleum content of samples they collect and examine for geological data during gas and oil exploration operations.
Geological and petroleum technicians work under various conditions, usually in laboratories during regular hours. Occasionally, some may work varied or irregular hours if the project they are working on cannot be completed within an 8-hour shift or during regular hours. Some technicians work when necessary around the clock, in 8-hour shifts. Others may work almost entirely outdoors in, at times, remote locations due to the nature of the work. Geological and petroleum technicians make extensive use of traditional experimental apparatus, electronic measuring equipment, and computers. Technological advances and the advent of information technology automation require more sophisticated equipment in the laboratory and these technicians must know how to use and care for the equipment. The possibility exists for all technicians to be exposed to hazards from toxic materials, chemicals, or equipment. Normal working conditions, however, for the science technician is not generally considered risky if he or she follows proper procedures and takes required safety precautions.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement
Most science technicians, such as geological and petroleum technicians, need formal education such as an applied science certificate, associate’s degree or a certificate in a technology related to science. Science technicians who have graduated from high school with a diploma but have no college degree, will usually start work under the supervision of an experienced technician, and will eventually earn a two year science technology degree. Although there are several ways for an individual to qualify for a position as a science technician, most employers seek applicants with an applied science associate’s degree, a degree in science-related technology, or two years at least of post secondary specialized training. A geological and petroleum technician may have a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences, as well, while others learn the required skills through on the job training, having no formal post secondary education.
Some specialties in the field have requirements of higher education, which will be stated by companies or organizations seeking employees. Community colleges and technical schools often offer programs of a general education in mathematics and science, or even programs in a particular technology. Technical institutes generally provide less general education and theory than community colleges, but they offer more intensive technician training. Many associate’s degree programs in these schools are developed to permit easy transference to bachelor’s degree programs at universities or colleges. Although two-year associate’s degree programs and one-year certificate programs are common, the length of some of their programs vary.
Some community colleges or technical institutes offer internship programs or cooperative-education, allowing the student an opportunity to work, possibly for a local company or another workplace while still attending class and finishing his or her education through alternate terms. A student’s employment prospects are significantly enhanced through participation in such programs.
Geological and petroleum technicians, no matter what their formal education, will usually need hands-on training, which they can receive on the job or in school. Those who have extensive experience with computers, laboratory equipment and related equipment can reduce their on-the-job training to a short period after getting a job. If the job candidate has no college degree, but does have a high school diploma, he or she will need more extensive hands-on training. They may work under direct supervision as trainees with an experienced technician.
Anyone interested in a career as a geological and petroleum technician should prepare by taking high school math and science courses. When enrolled in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program, the science courses have an emphasis on laboratory and bench skills. These technicians report their findings in written and spoken reports and need good communication skills. They need good computer skills and the ability to organize information and interpret results.
As geological and petroleum technicians gain experience after beginning work as trainees, they will be entrusted with more responsibility and possibly become supervisors. After earning a degree, and gaining a few years experience, these technicians have the ability to advance to higher positions in their field.
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Approximately 56 percent of all Geological and Petroleum technicians were employed by the gas and oil and mining industries, while nuclear technicians made up 51 percent of utilities personnel, forensic science technicians were employed mainly in State and Local Government, 25 percent of food agricultural and food science technicians were employed by food manufacturing companies, while 34 percent were employed by educational institutions. 75 percent of conservation and forest technicians worked for the Federal Government, mainly in Forest Service, and most environmental science and protection technicians workers were employed by technical, scientific, and professional firms and for State and Local governments. Chemical technicians mainly worked in technical, scientific, professional and chemical manufacturing firms, and 30 percent of biological technicians were hired in technical services, scientific or professional firms and organizations, while most other biological technicians were employed in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, State and local government, or educational services.
Science technician positions are expected to grow approximately as fast as average for all occupations, although this may change and vary by specialty. Graduates in the field of applied science technology programs may expect to have most of the job opportunities if he or she is well trained in programs of laboratory use and equipment, or in production facilities. The Federal Government expects a 12 percent growth rate during the decade of 2008-2018, approximately at least as fast as the expected average for all other occupations. The development and manufacture of technical products should help to stimulate demand in many industries for science technicians. However, the primary employment growth factor in this field will be the continued growth in the area of medical and scientific research, especially that which is related to biotechnology.
Positions for biological technicians should see an 18 percent increase, which is faster than average, spurred by the growing number of medicinal and agricultural products being developed. This is the result of research in biotechnology and will increase demand for these workers. Pharmaceutical companies, in continued competition, are expected to continue their innovation to produce new and improved drugs. This, coupled with an aging population, will spur the demand for technical, scientific and professional services in the field.
For chemical technicians, employment opportunities are expected to have little or no change. Except for medicine and pharmaceutical research, the chemical manufacturing industry is expected to experience an overall decline in employment, as companies turn to oversea production, outside contractors, and continue to downsize. Chemical technicians, however, will still be needed, especially in pharmaceutical research.
By contrast to the above positions, little or no change is expected for employment in the area of Geological and Petroleum technicians, and growth should stay at around 2 percent. To meet the world demand for natural gas and petroleum products, oil companies continue searching for new deposits and resources. Strongly tied to oil prices, the need for Geological and Petroleum technicians Careers fluctuates according to the hiring practices of the oil companies. When oil prices go down, these companies curtail hiring of geological and petroleum technicians due to their limited exploration. When oil prices rise again, the companies expand their activities of exploration and begin to hire more of these technicians. Continued high oil prices, therefore, will cause and maintain a demand for geological and petroleum technician workers.
Projections data from the National Employment Matrix:
The National Employment Matrix Projections data predicts the number of jobs for Nuclear technicians will grow from 6,400 in 2008 to 7,000 in 2018; for Geological and Petroleum technicians, remaining about the same, from 15,200 in 2008 to 15,400 in 2018; for Chemical technicians, 66,100 in 2008 lowered to 65,500 in 2018; Biological technicians, from 79,500 in 2008 to 93,500 in 2018; agricultural and food science technicians, from 21,900 to 23,800, and Science technicians from 270,800 to 302,600.
The Federal Government expects many job opportunities to arise from replacing technicians who leave the labor force for personal or disability reasons, or who retire. Job outlook is expected to be greater for those individuals who graduated from programs in applied science technology and are trained in the use of equipment for production facilities and in laboratories. The techniques and instrumentation now being used in production, development and industrial research is becoming more complex, therefore, many employers will seek those technicians who have developed the highly technical skills.
The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics states that hourly wages for all technicians were approximately as follows: Forest and conservation technicians, $15.30; Agricultural and food science technicians, $16.00; Biological technicians, $18.00; Environmental science and Protection technicians, including Health, $19.00; Chemical technicians, $20.00; Forensic science technicians, $23.00; Geological and Petroleum technicians, $25.00; and Nuclear technicians, $32.00. The average annual salaries within Federal Government employment in the field were approximately $42,700 for Forestry technicians, $55,500 for Physical Science technicians, and $39,500 for Biological science technicians.
Although the Federal Government reports the most recent wages for Geological and Petroleum technicians Careers at a median hourly wage of $25.00, variations in that amount exist according to company and the duties of the individual employee. The highest levels of employment and job openings in this occupation including approximate hourly wages are in the following industries:
Scientific research and Development Services, $24.55, Manufacturing in Coal Products and Petroleum, $37.19, Engineering, Architectural and Related Services, $20.95, Activities in Mining support, $26.14, and Gas and Oil Extraction, $30.58.
For Geological and Petroleum Technicians, the industries paying top wages are: Basic Chemical Manufacturing, $35.13, Distribution, Transmission and Electric Power Generation, $35.63, Coal Products and Petroleum Manufacturing, $37.19, Merchant Wholesalers of Petroleum Products and Petroleum, $38.21, and Employment Services, $40.70.
Related Fields of Occupation
There are many fields of work similar to that of geological and petroleum technicians. Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians have a similar job description to that of technicians in the geological and petroleum division. Excellent job opportunities are predicted in this field, and most of these will be found in a hospital setting. Clinical laboratory technologists typically have a bachelor's degree with a major in life sciences, whereas clinical laboratory technicians are usually only required to earn an associates degree or diploma.
Nature of the Work
Clinical laboratory testing holds a vital role in the identification and diagnosis of illnesses and disorders. Clinical laboratory technologists--also called clinical laboratory scientists or medical technologists--perform most of these tests.
Clinical laboratory workers analyze body fluids, and cells structure. They look for abnormalities, the presence of germs, parasites, or other foreign bodies. They analyze the chemical structure of fluids; match blood types for use in blood transfusions; and test for drug levels in patient's blood, in order to determine a patient's response to treatment. They also prepare specimens, count cells, and identify the presence of abnormal cells in blood or other body fluids. Instruments used in these positions include microscopes, cell counters, and many other sophisticated scientific tools and equipment. They also use computerized equipment, which can perform a number of tests concurrently. After these and other procedures are executed, results and discoveries are sent on to the appropriate physicians or other medical professionals.
An analytical, rather than hands-on approach is found with this type of work, stemming from the use of computerized instruments. Clinical laboratory technologists typically complete tasks of a more complex nature than those preformed by clinical laboratory technicians.
Clinical laboratory personnel are trained to work efficiently with specimens that may contain infectious bacteria or viruses. Appropriate safety measures must be taken to prevent contamination, and sterilization methods, as well as the use of personal protective equipment must be followed.
Working conditions vary with each employment setting, however, those working in laboratories can expect a clean, spacious, and well lit workspace. Laboratory workers typically spend long hours on their feet so physical stamina is an important consideration.
Hours of clinical laboratory technologists and technicians vary and may include weekends and holidays. In smaller laboratories rotating shifts are more common than traditional shifts.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Requirements for obtaining an entry-level position generally include a bachelor's degree with a major in one of the life sciences; however, some jobs can be obtained with a combination of education specialized on-the-job training. Universities and hospitals offer these types of programs.
Certain states require laboratory workers to be registered, or pass a state exam and obtain a license. Licensure requirements for technologists vary from state to state, and different regulations may apply for certain specialties. Information on licensure is available from each state's department of health.
Technicians can advance to the position of technologist through additional work experience and formal education. Similarly, technologists may aspire to advance to supervisory positions such as chief medical technologists or laboratory managers. Companies that market diagnostic testing kits for use in the home and laboratory equipment and supplies also seek Experienced technologists may also find work in product development or sales.
As of 2008, over 300,000 positions were held in the United States by clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, with 50 percent of these jobs in general or surgical hospitals. The remaining jobs were mostly in doctor's offices or outpatient facilities, with a small percentage of these in educational services.
Rapid job growth is predicted for this field and excellent opportunities are anticipated in all related fields. Most positions will continue to be in general or surgical hospitals, however, certain employment will increase rapidly in other settings, as well.
Specific growth for this field is estimated to be 14 percent by 2018, which is faster than the average for almost all occupations. The growth and development of new types of diagnostic tests, as well as an increase in population, have created an increase in the demand for clinical laboratory personnel.
The typical salary for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians falls within a range of $31,000 to $65,000 annually, with higher salaries offered by hospitals and laboratories, as opposed to doctor's offices or outpatient facilities. Related occupations include chemists, and science technicians.
Another occupation closely related to the field of geological and petroleum technician is that of diagnostic medical sonographer.
Favorable Job opportunities exist for this occupation, and since sonography is preferred to other radiological procedures, employment is expected to grow. Over half of all sonographers are employed by hospitals and many receive their education and training there. Formal education may also be pursued at vocational-technical schools, colleges, universities, and the Armed Forces.
Nature of the Work
Diagnostic imaging utilizes a variety of radiographic procedures. The most familiar of these are X-rays and MRIs--magnetic resonance imaging. Sonography is most often associated with obstetrics but has many other applications, as well.
Diagnostic medical sonographers use sophisticated equipment to direct sound waves into areas of the patient's body. Sonographers operate the equipment, which collects data, and then relay this information for diagnosis by a doctor or other health care professional.
Sonographers are responsible for explaining procedures to patients as well as record their medical history. They then select the proper equipment settings, direct the patient to move into the appropriate position, and perform the exam.
Sonographers record measurements, calculate values, and analyze data in initial findings for the medical professional. Diagnostic medical sonographers may specialize in a variety of fields including obstetrics, abdominal sonography, neurological, or vascular sonography.
Sonographers generally work in clean, well organized healthcare facilities. They usually work in darkened rooms, with sophisticated equipment, but they also may perform certain diagnostic procedures at patients' bedsides. Physical stamina is essential, as most sonographers are required to spend long periods of time on their feet, as well as assist with turning or lifting disabled patients.
The average work week is approximately 40 hours a week and sometimes mandatory overtime is included. In addition, sonographers may be required to work some evenings and weekends.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement About this section
Diagnostic medical sonography is a field that offers multiple paths of entry. Formal education is preferred by most employers, however, certain hospitals will consider those who have completed training in an accredited practice or those who are state licensed. Sometimes in-hospital training is provided, however, positions obtained this way traditionally pay less than those held by college graduates.
Sonographers must possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as explanations of procedures must be given to their patients as a routine part of the job. Good hand-eye coordination is also critically important, as this is the only way to obtain quality images. Continuing education is also of vital importance and care must be taken to stay abreast of the numerous advancements that continue to take place in this field.
Sonographers may advance in a variety of directions by obtaining additional education. This will allow the sonographer to specialize in a particular facet of diagnostics such as obstetrics or cardiographs. Sonographers with the appropriate education can also advance into supervisory, or administrative positions.
As of 2008, diagnostic medical sonographers held about 50,300 jobs in the United States, and over 50 percent of these were in general or surgical hospitals. The remainder were in doctor's offices of physicians, laboratories, or outpatient care facilities.
A faster than average growth is expected for this occupation and job opportunities should be favorable. An expected increase of 18 percent by2018 is anticipated.
Hospitals will remain the primary facility in which sonographers are employed, however, rapid employment growth is expected in doctor's offices and diagnostic laboratories. This is due to a strong shift toward outpatient care, largely encouraged by third-party payers.
The average yearly salary of diagnostic medical sonographers was $62,000 in May 2008. However, the range is between $52,500 and $73,000 a year.
Other Sources of Information
General information about numerous jobs in the field of technology is available from the Pathways to Technology web site:
For information about careers in biological technology, one may contact the following sources:
For career information as well as a list of forensic sciences programs, contact:American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Colorado Springs, CO
People with the educational background, skills, and desire to become a Geological and petroleum technicians might be well suited to work in one of the following fields as well: