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Geological Sample Test Technicians
SOC Code: 19-4041.02

Test or analyze geological samples, crude oil, or minerals to detect presence of petroleum, gas, or mineral deposits indicating potential for exploration or production or to determine physical or chemical properties to ensure that products meet quality standards.

Sample of reported job titles: Core Inspector, Electron Microprobe Operator, Environmental Field Services Technician, Environmental Sampling Technician, Laboratory Technician, Materials Technician, Organic Section Technical Lead, Physical Science Technician, Quality Control Technician (QC Technician), Research Associate


  • Test and analyze samples to determine their content and characteristics, using laboratory apparatus or testing equipment.
  • Collect or prepare solid or fluid samples for analysis.
  • Compile, log, or record testing or operational data for review and further analysis.
  • Assemble, operate, or maintain field or laboratory testing, measuring, or mechanical equipment.
  • Participate in geological, geophysical, geochemical, hydrographic, or oceanographic surveys, prospecting field trips, exploratory drilling, well logging, or underground mine survey programs.
  • Prepare or review professional, technical, or other reports regarding sampling, testing, or recommendations of data analysis.
  • Adjust or repair testing, electrical, or mechanical equipment or devices.
  • Plot information from aerial photographs, well logs, section descriptions, or other databases.
  • Prepare notes, sketches, geological maps, or cross sections.
  • Participate in the evaluation of possible mining locations.
  • Assess the environmental impacts of development projects on subsurface materials.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - Landmark GeoGraphix; Parallel Geoscience SPW; Seismic Micro-Technology KINGDOM
  • Computer aided design CAD software - Autodesk AutoCAD ; Midland Valley 2DMove
  • Graphics or photo imaging software - Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator ; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite
  • Map creation software - Golden Software Surfer; Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE; Martin D Adamiker's TruFlite; Surface III (see all 6 examples)
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Bi distillation units - Water distillation units
  • Calorimeters
  • Conductivity meters - Conductivity indicators; Terrain conductivity meters
  • Darkfield microscopes - Phase contrast microscopes
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras
  • Dissolved oxygen meters
  • Distance meters - Electronic distance meters
  • Dropping pipettes - Digital micropipettes; Glass dropping pipettes
  • Drying cabinets or ovens - Laboratory drying ovens
  • Electronic toploading balances - Top-loading electronic balances
  • Extracting equipment for laboratories - Microwave digestion systems
  • Fluorescent microscopes - Fluorescence microscopes
  • Gas chromatographs - Gas chromatography equipment
  • Glass crucibles - Glass laboratory crucibles
  • Gravimeters - Gravitational field indicators
  • High pressure liquid chromatograph chromatography - High pressure liquid chromatograph HPLC equipment
  • Hydrometers - Digital hydrometers
  • Inductively coupled plasma ICP spectrometers - Inductively coupled plasma ICP optical emission spectrometers
  • Infrared spectrometers - Fourier transfer infrared FTIR spectrometers
  • Jaw crushers
  • Laboratory bailers - Water sampling bailers
  • Laboratory balances - Electronic laboratory balances
  • Laboratory beakers - Glass beakers
  • Laboratory burets - General purpose burets
  • Laboratory crushers or pulverizers - Chipmunk crushers; Laboratory pulverizers; Rotary pulverizers; Shatterboxes
  • Laboratory flasks - Erlenmeyer flasks; Volumetric flasks
  • Laboratory funnels - Glass funnels
  • Laboratory graduated cylinders - Glass graduated cylinders
  • Laboratory sifting equipment - Sieve shakers
  • Laboratory vacuum pumps
  • Magnetic stirrers - Heated magnetic stirrers
  • Magnetometer geophysical instruments - Cryogenic magnetometers; Proton magnetometers; Spinner magnetometers
  • Mass spectrometers
  • Multi gas monitors - Carbon hydrogen nitrogen CHN analyzers
  • Notebook computers - Laptop computers
  • Organic carbon analyzers - Dissolved organic carbon analyzers
  • Peristaltic pumps - Groundwater sampling peristaltic pumps
  • Personal computers
  • pH meters - Digital pH meters
  • Polarizing microscopes - Binocular polarizing microscopes
  • Portable data input terminals - Portable dataloggers
  • Pressure sensors - Piezometers
  • Radarbased surveillance systems - Ground penetrating radar GPR systems
  • Robotic or automated liquid handling systems - Automatic burets
  • Rock cutters - Rock saws
  • Salinity meter - Dissolved salt meters
  • Scanning electron microscopes - Scanning electron microscopes SEM
  • Seismic recorders or seismographs - Digital seismographs
  • Single gas monitors - Digital chlorine testers
  • Soil core sampling apparatus - Sample microsplitters
  • Spectrofluorimeters or fluorimeters - X ray fluorescence XRF spectrometers
  • Spectrophotometers - Fluorescence spectrophotometers; Optical particle detectors; Ultraviolet-Visible UV/VIS spectrophotometers
  • Still cameras - 35 millimeter cameras
  • Sulfur dioxide analyzers or detectors - Total sulfur analyzers
  • Test sieves - Laboratory sieves
  • Turbidimeters
  • X ray diffraction equipment - Single crystal x ray diffractometers


  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.


  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.


  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Number Facility - The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.


  • Interest code: RIC
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Electronic Mail - 76% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 74% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 67% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 62% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Telephone - 67% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 43% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 43% responded “Very important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 38% responded “Limited freedom.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 40% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 29% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 81% responded “40 hours.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions - 30% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 40% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Consequence of Error - 52% responded “Serious.”
  • Time Pressure - 40% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 38% responded “Minor results.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 30% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 48% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 60% responded “About half the time.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 30% responded “High responsibility.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
52%Bachelor's degree
24%Master's degree
10%Some college, no degree

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $26.05 hourly, $54,190 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 15,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Much faster than average (15% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 1,900

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