How to Become a
Geological and Petroleum Technician

Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications

The oil industry is prosperous and has contributed to the creation of many millionaires in the world today. The industry is on a constant lookout for professionals and qualified people to hire. If you want to start your career path as a geological and petroleum technician, you must first consider where, how, and what to learn.

This article teaches you how to become a geological and petroleum technician, what type of degree you should obtain, and the average cost of tuition you can expect. Aside from general information, this article provides a step-by-step guide to launching a career in the oil industry.

What Is a Geological and Petroleum Technician?

A geological and petroleum technician is a professional who discovers and analyzes mineral and valuable resources using surface analysis techniques. These technicians are trained to direct oil extraction processes and other natural resources.

What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Geological and Petroleum Technician?

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You can attend different types of schools to jumpstart your way to becoming a geological and petroleum technician. All options will equip you with the fundamental skills you’ll need to break into the field. Note that you’ll need to at least have a high school diploma to qualify for any of these schools.

Best Geological and Petroleum Technician Education Tracks

Below are the best education tracks to become a geological and petroleum technician. Some options are better than others depending on your resources, time, and preferences.


Community College

At the very least, you’ll need to have an Associate Degree in Applied Science, Petroleum Technology, Geology, or any related field to become a professional geological and petroleum technician. To get one, you need to attend a community college.

A community college is many people’s first choice to learn about this field. This is because a community college generally costs less than attending a university. The shortness of the programs a community college offers also makes it easier for you to get your foot in the job market as soon as possible.

Community college courses take approximately two years to complete. You can work as an entry-level petroleum technician after you receive your associate’s degree. That said, some employers may require further education.


Geological and Petroleum Technician Degrees

If you want a complete academic path, you can start a bachelor’s degree at any university that offers programs in petroleum technology or geology. Many companies require you to have a bachelor’s degree so this path is something you should strongly consider.

You will learn professional skills and have experience in internships. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, you can start a master’s degree to be a specialist in any area of ​​the oil industry or mineral extraction.

If you have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, your next goal may be a doctoral degree. This is the last and most crucial academic title. A doctoral degree makes you a qualified researcher, professor, and expert for any job in the petroleum industry. You can take any of the three options at a traditional university or online college.


Geological and Petroleum Technician Courses

This career is exclusive to universities and community colleges. However, many courses and conferences cover oil, minerals, and the extraction of natural resources. These courses are widely available online.

How to Become a Geological and Petroleum Technician A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Become a Geological and Petroleum Technician A Step-by-Step Guide

Below are the five steps to pursuing a career as a geological and petroleum technician. Note that these steps are not set in stone and only pertain to the steps you can take should you choose a traditional learning path.

Study your career options

If you want to enter this industry, you must first analyze your context. Not all companies have the same reputation. Others may only be available in certain states. Before deciding on a learning track, know the hiring rates in your city, the approximate salaries, and the relevant schools available.

Pursue a related undergraduate degree

The oil industry demands mastery of essential skills. Technicians must be professional and highly-skilled, and knowledgeable of their tasks. For this reason, companies often require a degree or postsecondary training in applied science, geology, or petroleum technology.

Apply for entry-level geological and petroleum technician roles

After graduating, your next mission is to find a job. Many companies hire new graduates. Depending on your performance and knowledge, your chances of finding a suitable job will considerably increase.

Know the tasks of the workplace

Adapt and be responsible. As a petroleum technician, you will need to apply different methods to do your job efficiently. Most companies offer exclusive professional job training for their employees.

Key Geological and Petroleum Technician Skills

Key Geological and Petroleum Technician Skills

To work in any oil company as a petroleum technician, you must be an expert in geology and earth sciences. Below are the essential skills you need to master.

Proficiency in Installing and Using Field Equipment

You must use laboratory and field equipment during projects. You need to know how to conduct surface analysis with the necessary instruments and show the results to stakeholders. These tools may include rock hammers, field vests, hand lenses, handheld GPS’s, and pencil magnets.

Strong Organizational Skills

After item extraction, you should have an organized record of samples, results, and maps. Although companies require the inclusion of data in some specific software, most geological technicians use physical storage centers.

Accuracy in Site Mapping

Another essential skill in this job is creating maps that show the places with the highest mineral resource index. Companies spend millions of dollars installing mining machines and personnel, so maps must be as accurate as possible.

Geological and Petroleum Technician Salary and Job Outlook

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), geological and petroleum technicians earn a median salary of around $50,600, which is equivalent to around $24 per hour. The bottom 10 percent earners make around $28,000 while the top 10 percent earners pocket as high as $109,000.

BLS also reports a five percent increase in employment in the field by 2029.

Min salary


Average salary


Top salary


Entry-Level Geological and Petroleum Technician Job Requirements

You’ll need at least an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree to land an entry-level role as a geological and petroleum technician. Most technicians at this level have an associate degree from a community college, a prerequisite for joining any company.

You must have theoretical and practical knowledge of geology and science-related technology to get an entry-level job in this field. Be sure to hone your communication, analysis, and physical skills. The average salary of an entry-level geological and petroleum technician is $48,210, according to ZipRecruiter.

What Does a Geological and Petroleum Technician Do

What Does a Geological and Petroleum Technician Do?

The fundamental task of a geological and petroleum technician is to put theoretical knowledge into practice. Not all companies have the same work schedule for their technicians. That said, below are the most common tasks for a geological and petroleum technician.

Digs and Gathers Mineral Deposits

Petroleum technicians typically do fieldwork. This may mean visiting drilling sites and using the relevant tools to dig and collect the samples of soil and other minerals.

Analyzes Mineral and Petroleum Samples with a Team of Scientists

The work of technicians and scientists is a team task. You will need to help set up laboratory equipment to analyze samples. Geologists, scientists, and engineers study ground samples for the necessary elements before or during drilling.

Presents Findings to Stakeholders

After finishing the analysis, you will have to summarize your findings into graphs for the supervisors and those in charge of the extraction. Petroleum technicians might work with other scientists to verify the process. Some of the observations on the graphs include temperature, pressure, volume, approximate perforation levels, among other points.

Geological and Petroleum Technician Certifications

To qualify for a geological and petroleum technician role, some employers may require you to have a license or certification. To earn a professional certification, you’ll typically need to sit a practical exam or assessment. If you pass, the certification verifies your proficiency in the assessed skill.

Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) Certification

The OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) offers a special certification for professionals who work in hazardous spaces. High-risk activities at work require special skills. In this OSHA program, you will learn how to prevent injuries and illnesses that are likely to occur from exposure to toxic substances.

This includes being knowledgeable about the legal and safety standards that need to be adhered to when working in these types of spaces.

How to Prepare for Your Geological and Petroleum Technician Job Interview

How to Prepare for Your Graphic Design Job Interview

To get hired for a geological and petroleum technician job, you’ll need to ace your job interview. Job interviews help companies get to know you and evaluate your professional skills and performance.

Below you will see the most common questions in job interviews for geological and petroleum technicians.

Geological and Petroleum Technician Job Interview Practice Questions

  • How do you analyze mineral samples?
  • What tools do you use to extract the samples?
  • Can you work in risky environments?
  • What software do you use to process and organize your work?
  • How do you create geology maps?

How Long Does It Take to Become a Geological and Petroleum Technician?

The time it takes you to become a geological and petroleum technician depends on your level of commitment and availability.
If you want to be an entry-level technician, you will need two to four years of postsecondary training at a community college to get an associate’s degree. This option allows you to enter many companies and have your first professional experience.

If you want to further your knowledge and boost your job prospects, choose a Bachelor’s Degree in Petroleum Technology, Geology, or Applied Science. This option requires four to five years at a university.

Associate degree


Bachelor’s degree


Master’s degree


Should You Become a Geological and Petroleum Technician in 2021?

It’s not a bad idea. The oil and gas field is growing despite the boom in the electrical industry. The US is the largest oil producer in the world, extracting about 17 million barrels per day, according to Statista. Thanks to the stability of this industry, job opportunities in this field are promising.

Geological and Petroleum Technician FAQ

How many people work as geological and petroleum technicians in the United States?

There were more than 19,000 geological and petroleum technicians working in the United States in 2019, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next decade expects the addition of 1,000 jobs in the field.

What is the workplace like for a geological and petroleum technician?

One of the reasons behind the high wages of geological and petroleum technicians is harsh working conditions. The work involves long hours, fieldwork, limited groups, use of heavy machinery, and repetitive tasks.

Is it dangerous to work in the oil and gas industry?

The structures and work environments of the oil and gas industry in countries like the US require professional supervision and quality controls to avoid injuries. However, an International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) report published in the Journal of Petroleum Technology revealed that 25 workers died in 2019.

Where do geological and petroleum technicians work?

Most geological and petroleum technicians carry out their activities in oil industries and extraction platforms. A small percentage of geological and petroleum technicians work in mining.

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