Geological and Hydrologic Technicians

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Geological and hydrologic technicians support scientists and engineers in exploring, extracting, and monitoring natural resources.

Work Environment: Geological and hydrologic technicians work in offices, laboratories, and the field. Most geological and hydrologic technicians work full time.

How to Become One: Geological and hydrologic technicians typically need an associate's degree or 2 years of postsecondary training in applied science or a science-related technology. Some jobs may require a bachelor’s degree. Geological and hydrologic technicians also receive on-the-job training.

Salary: The median annual wage for geological technicians is $48,310. The median annual wage for hydrologic technicians is $62,280.

Job Outlook: Overall employment of geological and hydrologic technicians is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of geological and hydrologic technicians with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a geological or hydrologic technician with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Geological Technician Jobs

  • Geotechnical Engineer (P.E.) - Protex The PT Xperts, LLC - 80010, CO

    Assigns tasks to and directs staff level engineers/ geologists , technicians , and administrative staff. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS * B.S. degree in civil/geotechnical engineering. * Possess 1+ years ...

  • Geotechnical Engineer (P.E.) - Protex The PT Xperts, LLC - Tempe, AZ

    Assigns tasks to and directs staff level engineers/ geologists , technicians , and administrative staff. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS * B.S. degree in civil/geotechnical engineering. * Possess 1+ years ...

  • Project Geologist - Moore Twining Associates, Inc. - Fresno, CA

    Our staff includes Geotechnical Engineers, Civil Engineers, Geologists , Engineering Technicians , Inspectors, Chemists, Drillers and support staff. The corporate office of Moore Twining conducts ...

See all Geological Technician jobs

Top 3 Petroleum Technician Jobs

  • Production Technician - Callon Petroleum Operating Company - Dilley, TX

    Job Type Full-time Description Founded in 1950, Callon Petroleum Company is an independent oil and natural gas company focused on growing production and reserves from our oil-weighted, multi-play ...

  • Warehouse Coordinator - Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) - Carlsbad, NM

    Warehouse Coordinator/Lead Technician MPLX is currently constructing a 10K sq. ft warehouse in ... Regular Marathon Petroleum Company LP is an Equal Opportunity Employer and gives consideration for ...

  • Petroleum Service Technician - Tanknology - Ada, MN

    The Field Service Technicians (FST) are our "boots on the ground". They are on job sites, performing the various testing, installs, and repairs necessary for each job site and recording all findings ...

See all Petroleum Technician jobs

What Geological and Hydrologic Technicians Do[About this section] [To Top]

Geological and hydrologic technicians support scientists and engineers in exploring, extracting, and monitoring natural resources, such as soil, natural gas, and water.

Duties of Geological and Hydrologic Technicians

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 into 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 on 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.

Work Environment for Geological and Hydrologic Technicians[About this section] [To Top]

Geological technicians hold about 9,200 jobs. The largest employers of geological technicians are as follows:

Architectural, engineering, and related services 45%
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction 18%
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 10%
Transportation and warehousing 7%
Management of companies and enterprises 5%

Hydrologic technicians hold about 3,800 jobs. The largest employers of geological and hydrologic technicians are as follows:

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction 13%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 8%
Chemical manufacturing 7%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 7%
Machinery manufacturing 2%

Geological and hydrologic technicians work either in fields and laboratories or in offices. Fieldwork requires technicians to be outdoors, sometimes in remote locations, where they are exposed to all types of weather. In addition, technicians may need to stay on location for days or weeks to collect data and monitor equipment. Geological and hydrologic technicians who work in offices spend most of their time on computers to organize and analyze data, write reports, and produce maps.

Geological and Hydrologic Technician Work Schedules

Most geological and hydrologic technicians work full time. Technicians generally work standard hours in laboratories and offices but may have irregular schedules in the field.

How to Become a Geological or Hydrologic Technician[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Geological and Hydrologic Technicians near you!

Geological and hydrologic technicians typically need at least an associate’s degree in applied science or science-related technology to enter the occupation. Some employers require a bachelor’s degree. Geological and hydrologic technicians also receive on-the-job training.

Education for Geological and Hydrologic Technicians

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.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Geological and Hydrologic Technicians

Some geological and hydrologic technicians may be required to have the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) certification. HAZWOPER certification includes training in health hazards, personal protective equipment, site safety, recognizing and identifying hazards, and decontamination. Refresher training may be required to maintain certification.

The American Institute of Hydrology (AIH) offers different levels of voluntary certification for hydrologic technicians. Each level requires different amounts of education and experience. Recertification is required periodically.

Important Qualities for Geological and Hydrologic Technicians

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.

Geological and Hydrologic Technician Training

Geological and hydrologic technicians typically receive on-the-job training to attain competency. Under the supervision of experienced technicians, new technicians gain hands-on experience using field and laboratory equipment and computer software. The length of training may vary from 1 to 12 months.

Geological and Hydrologic Technician Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for geological technicians is $48,310. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,590, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $98,650.

The median annual wage for hydrologic technicians is $62,280. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $38,310, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $130,050.

The median annual wages for geological technicians in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Management of companies and enterprises $95,790
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction $60,770
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services $49,910
Transportation and warehousing $47,180
Architectural, engineering, and related services $46,910

The median annual wages for hydrologic technicians in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Chemical manufacturing $130,060
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction $79,510
Local government, excluding education and hospitals $59,270
Machinery manufacturing $46,110
Professional, scientific, and technical services $45,540

Most geological and hydrologic technicians work full time. Technicians generally work standard hours in laboratories and offices but may have irregular schedules in the field.

Job Outlook for Geological and Hydrologic Technicians[About this section] [To Top]

Overall employment of geological and hydrologic technicians is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 1,400 openings for geological and hydrologic technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment of Geological and Hydrologic Technicians

Projected employment of geological and hydrologic technicians varies by occupation. Demand for natural gas, along with exploration and management of resources such as minerals and water, is expected to increase demand for geological exploration and extraction.

Employment projections data for Geological and Hydrologic Technicians, 2021-31
Occupational Title Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31
Percent Numeric
Geological and hydrologic technicians 13,000 13,500 4 500
  Geological technicians 9,200 9,700 5 500
  Hydrologic technicians 3,800 3,800 1 0


A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


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