Geological and hydrologic technicians support scientists and engineers in exploring, extracting, and monitoring natural resources.
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Geological and hydrologic technicians typically do the following:
- Install and maintain laboratory and field equipment
- Gather samples in the field, such as mud and water, and prepare them for analysis in the laboratory
- Conduct scientific tests on samples to determine their content and characteristics
- Record data from tests and compile information from reports, databases, and other sources
- Prepare reports and maps to identify geological characteristics of areas that may have valuable natural resources
Geological and hydrologic technicians typically specialize either in fieldwork and laboratory study or in analyzing data. However, technicians may have duties that overlap in multiple areas.
In the field, geological and hydrologic technicians use equipment, such as seismic instruments and depth sensors, to gather data. They also use tools, such as shovels and gauges, to collect samples for analysis. In laboratories, these technicians use microscopes, computers, and other equipment to analyze samples for problem-solving and other purposes.
Geological and hydrologic technicians work in teams under the supervision of scientists and engineers. Geological technicians help with tasks such as exploring and developing prospective sites or monitoring the productivity of existing ones. Hydrologic technicians assist with a variety of projects, such as providing information for negotiating water rights.
Geologic and hydrologic technicians also might work with scientists and technicians of other disciplines. For example, these technicians may work with environmental scientists and technicians to identify the potential impacts of drilling on an area’s soil and water quality.
Analytical skills. Geological and hydrologic technicians evaluate data and samples using a variety of techniques, including laboratory experimentation and computer modeling.
Communication skills. Geological and hydrologic technicians explain their methods and findings through oral and written reports to scientists, engineers, managers, and other technicians.
Critical-thinking skills. Geological and hydrologic technicians must use their judgment when interpreting scientific data and determining what is relevant to their work.
Interpersonal skills. Geological and hydrologic technicians need to be able to work well with others as part of a team.
Physical stamina. To do fieldwork, geological and hydrologic technicians must be able to reach remote locations while carrying testing and sampling equipment.
- Engineering services
- Support activities for mining
- Oil and gas extraction
- Management, scientific, and technical consulting services
- Management of companies and enterprises
Although entry-level positions typically require an associate’s degree in applied science or a science-related technology, employers may prefer to hire applicants who have a bachelor’s degree. Geological and hydrologic technician jobs that are data-intensive or highly technical may require a bachelor’s degree.
Community colleges and technical institutes may offer programs in geosciences, mining, or a related subject, such as geographic information systems (GIS). Regardless of the program, most students take courses in geology, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, and physics. Schools also may offer internships and cooperative-education programs in which students gain experience while attending school.