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Geological Technician Profile

Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Geological Technician. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Geological Technician
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Geological Technician Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Geological technicians support the work of professional geologists by collecting and analysing information from rock samples. Much of the work involves routine laboratory duties - preparing rock and soil samples for testing, and carrying out tests on the chemical composition and/or physical properties of samples.

A range of specialised instruments and computers are used, and technicians may be involved in servicing and maintaining the laboratory equipment. Depending on the type of research being carried out, other duties can include data entry and processing, interpreting data from seismic surveys and the preparation of geological maps.

Senior technicians may be responsible for training and supervising juniors, scheduling the work, maintaining quality standards and producing reports.

Hours and Environment

Geological technicians working in a laboratory usually work normal office hours, but sometimes work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. If they are involved in the maintenance of electronic equipment and computers they may have to work outside normal hours during emergency call-outs. Part time work is sometimes possible.

If working in a laboratory, geological technicians have to wear protective clothing and safety equipment when involved in certain type of activities. If the employer is one of the international service companies that supports the oil, gas and mining industries, there may be opportunities to work abroad.

Skills and Interests

To be a geological technician you should:

  • have good scientific and technical skills
  • be able to pay careful attention to detail and accuracy
  • have good numeracy skills
  • be patient and have good observational skills
  • have an ability to take a methodical approach to problem solving
  • be able to use information and communication technology
  • have practical skills to use instruments and technical equipment
  • be able to work without direct supervision
  • have good eyesight.


Entry

The level at which you start as a geological technician will depend upon your qualifications. As a school leaver, you would start as a junior technician, whereas some organisations may employ university graduates as technicians. Because of the types of technical support required by geologists, you will need qualifications in subjects such as chemistry, physics, computing and other technical subjects. Geology is an advantage but is not essential.

Entry qualifications vary but you will normally need a minimum of four GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) or equivalent. A science subject and maths are usually required. Some posts require A levels/H grades, vocational A level/GSVQ III, NVQs/SVQs, BTEC/SQA higher national award, in a few cases, a degree.

The minimum entry requirement for BTEC/SQA HNC/HND is usually four GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) with one A level/two H grades, or equivalent. Although there are many colleges and universities that offer science-based HND courses, there are only a few that offer HND courses in geology.

To enter a first degree course you will need a minimum of five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) with two A levels/three H grades or equivalent. For most courses, English at GCSE (A-C)/S grade (1-3) is essential. Many universities demand more than the minimum, eg three A levels/four H grades.

There are NVQs/SVQs at Levels 2, 3 and 4 in Laboratory and Technical Activities.

For details of qualification equivalents see:

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Scottish Qualifications Authority
An Access to Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. If experienced in a related field, you may be able to gain recognition of skills through Accredited Prior Learning (APL). Please check with colleges or universities for exact entry requirements.

Training

Training will be mainly on the job, but many organisations provide short in-service training courses on the use of particular techniques or equipment.

Many employers support and encourage their technicians to obtain further qualifications, eg BTEC/SQA HNCs/HNDs or degrees, often through part-time study, day or block-release.

Opportunities

Most geological technicians are employed in the oil sector. There are also opportunities at the 50 universities and other institutions in the UK that offer geology degree courses, as technicians are required to support the training of student geologists. The largest single employer of geologists and technical staff in the UK is the British Geological Survey, which is part of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

With the increasing use of sophisticated technology, professional geologists are expected to be less reliant on technicians. Additionally, in a drive to lower costs, many of the large oil companies outsource a lot of work to service companies.

As regards promotion, larger organisations tend to have formal career structures; technicians employed at smaller companies may have less opportunity for promotion and are likely to have to move employer in order to progess. It may be possible to move to a managerial post or into other sectors, eg as a laboratory manager or as a laboratory technician in a different industry or in education. Overseas work may be possible with some employers.

Annual Income

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

School leavers would typically earn around £6,000 but with an HND earnings on entry rise to about £12,000 per year.
Experienced technicians with an HND might earn around £16,000.
Senior technicians can earn more than £20,000.

Further information

British Geological Survey
Kingsley Dunham Centre
Keyworth
Nottingham
NG12 5GG
Tel: 0115 936 3100
www.bgs.ac.uk

The Geological Society
Burlington House
Piccadilly
London
W1J 0BG
Tel: 020 7434 9944
www.geolsoc.org.uk

Energy Institute
61 New Cavendish Street
London
W1G 7AR
Tel: 020 7467 7100
www.energyinst.org.uk

Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House
North Star Avenue
Swindon
Wiltshire
SN2 1EU
Tel: 01793 411500
www.nerc.ac.uk

Other Useful Geological Technician Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Geological Technician job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Geological Technician Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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