What Is a Geological Technician? (Requirements and Skills)

Updated August 11, 2023

There are many possible roles to pursue if you wish to work in the natural resources sector. One role to consider is a geological technician, which involves working in various locations, with numerous other people, and focusing on multiple types of resources. Learning more about the role can help you determine whether it suits your career goals, interests, and skills. In this article, we explain what a geological technician is, outline the educational requirements for the role, highlight a list of relevant skills, and examine their typical work environment to help you learn more about this fascinating career.

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What is a geological technician?

A geological technician is a scientist who supports other scientists and engineers who work with natural resources. Also known as geotechnicians or geoscience technicians, these professionals focus on rocks, water, petroleum, soil, and natural gas. They often gather samples, measure and analyze them, record data, and prepare reports of their findings. Much of their work focuses on finding ways to explore, manage, and produce materials from natural resources.

They may also help analyze samples to identify their chemical or physical properties and determine whether the samples are suitable for company needs. Depending on where they work, they may also assess phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, rock formations, and the mineral composition of different substances or in different locations. Their role also typically involves numerous other duties, including:

  • creating maps of relevant information

  • ensuring the maintenance of quality and safety standards for projects and worksites

  • assessing seismic surveys of certain areas

  • recording drilling activity

  • contributing to and maintaining databases

  • assessing and updating well data

  • using and maintaining radio systems

  • supporting other employees, such as engineers

Related: 20 Jobs in Environmental Studies (With Salaries and Duties)

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Educational requirements for the role

To work as a geological technician, it's often necessary to have certification from a two- or three-year college or technical school program. Here's a list of relevant majors and subjects to consider pursuing if you're interested in this role:

  • mineralogy

  • environmental earth science

  • geographic information systems

  • petroleum engineering technology

  • welding technology

  • mining technology

  • geological technology

  • geology

  • mining engineering technology

  • petroleum technology

  • hydrogeology

  • groundwater technology

You can also pursue relevant certifications to help qualify for more jobs and make your resume more impressive. For instance, you can gain certification in geological and mineral technology through provincial engineering associations. This may be a requirement for certain employers or locations. In Quebec, for example, geoscience technicians require a membership in a professional regulatory body to qualify for a professional technologist role. Depending on the specific certification, there may be experience and education requirements. Be sure the check your provincial or territorial guidelines to ensure you qualify for the role.

Related: How to Become an Exploration Geologist (With Helpful Skills)

Important skills for geoscience technicians

Geotechnicians use several hard and soft skills in their role. If you're interested in pursuing a role in this field, consider developing the following skills:

Data management skills

Data management is among the most important skills for these technicians, as the role typically involves recording and assessing data. These professionals often oversee the management of certain databases and prepare information for both internal and external audiences. Depending on the company for which they work, they may also use data management skills to create invoices and organize data so it's clear and visually appealing.

Related: What Is Big Data Management? (With Definition and Tips)

Teamwork skills

These technicians use teamwork skills in various aspects of their roles. For instance, they may work with a team when in the field collecting samples or when completing certain projects. Having capabilities in teamwork can help you leverage others' skills and knowledge and be more effective in your role.

Related: How to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace (With Tips)

GPS skills

Geoscience technicians often use GPS skills to find exact locations, record relevant data of the samples that they gather, and create maps and detailed reports. It's also helpful when using various tools that rely on GPS technology. For instance, these technicians might use GPS software to find the exact location of a site, then use the GPS coordinates to survey a site using a drone.

Observational skills

Observational skills help geoscience technicians properly assess a work site, gather all relevant data, and identify intervening variables that may be challenging to detect. Observational skills also help these technologists work with others and ensure workplace safety. For instance, when working in the field, these technicians can use observation skills to identify areas of high risk due to ground or rock wall instability. These skills are also useful to identify any errors in the work approach of others that are not following best practices for maintaining safety.

Related: What Are Observational Techniques? (With Pros and Cons)

Presentation and design software skills

These technicians might use presentation software to create accurate maps, presentations of their findings, and documents for clients or potential clients. For instance, they may create an initial project proposal for a potential client, or, once hired, prepare progress reports as a project is underway and a final report summarizing the findings once the project is complete. These technicians can also use software to create promotional materials, such as brochures and posters.

Related: How to Share PowerPoint Presentations on Different Devices

Geotechnical skills

Geotechnical skills are useful when creating structures in or on the ground. This includes having strong knowledge of geology, math, and technology used in the industry. These technicians may use these skills to perform their work at various locations, such as in the laboratory and when working with geotechnical databases. These skills also help them work with other people at a worksite and operate various machinery and equipment.

Related: What Does a Geologist Do? (With Skills and Definition)

Stamina and physical strength

Having stamina and physical strength can help people working in this role, as they may often have to walk to remote locations and use physical strength and endurance to collect samples. It may also be necessary for them to carry the samples that they collect and any equipment used for the process.

Seismic data skills

Geoscience technicians may be responsible for assessing seismic data, depending on their employer. These technicians might use various seismic data software programs in their work. Knowing how to effectively use, record, and interpret seismic data allows them to organize this data into databases and present their findings to others.

Related: What Does an Engineering Geologist Do? (With Skills)

Communication skills

Written and verbal communication skills are important in this position. They enable geoscience technicians to develop reports, manage databases, make presentations, share information with colleagues, and interact with clients. You can learn these skills through formal training or develop them through practice in your own time and while on the job.

Related: What Are Communication Barriers? (And Ways to Overcome Them)

Computer skills

These technologists often work with computers and other technological devices to complete their duties. For instance, they may work with GPS devices, surveying programs, and databases using a computer. Developing strong computer skills can help these technologists learn specific programs quickly and help make them more efficient in their roles by utilizing programs effectively.

Related: Computer Literacy in the Workplace: What You Need to Know

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Work environment for the role

Geoscience technicians often have full-time roles and work regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They may work in a variety of settings, including:

  • An office: Geoscience technicians might work in an office when they assess data, prepare reports or maps, and communicate with others, such as colleagues, managers, and clients.

  • The field: A geological technician completes most of their work in the field. For instance, they may work to collect samples or survey an area.

  • A laboratory: Geological technologists may also conduct part of their role in a laboratory setting. They might use specialized equipment to assess samples that they've gathered, conduct experiments, and update databases.

While some geotechnicians are self-employed, others work for different types of businesses, including:

  • exploration and surveying companies

  • environmental or engineering consulting firms

  • oil, gas, or mining companies

  • governmental departments and agencies

Related: How to Write a Geological Technician Resume (With Template)

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