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Geophysical Data Technicians
SOC Code: 19-4041.01

Measure, record, or evaluate geological data, using sonic, electronic, electrical, seismic, or gravity-measuring instruments to prospect for oil or gas. May collect or evaluate core samples or cuttings.

Sample of reported job titles: Exploration Manager, Field Engineer, Geological E-Logger, Geological Technician, Geoscience Technician, Geoscientist, Geotechnician, Observer, Soils Technician, Technical Assistant


  • Prepare notes, sketches, geological maps, or cross-sections.
  • Read and study reports in order to compile information and data for geological and geophysical prospecting.
  • Interview individuals, and research public databases in order to obtain information.
  • Assemble, maintain, or distribute information for library or record systems.
  • Operate or adjust equipment or apparatus used to obtain geological data.
  • Plan and direct activities of workers who operate equipment to collect data.
  • Set up or direct set-up of instruments used to collect geological data.
  • Record readings in order to compile data used in prospecting for oil or gas.
  • Supervise oil, water, or gas well-drilling activities.
  • Collect samples or cuttings, using equipment or hand tools.
  • Create photographic recordings of information, using equipment.
  • Measure geological characteristics used in prospecting for oil or gas, using measuring instruments.
  • Evaluate and interpret core samples and cuttings, and other geological data used in prospecting for oil or gas.
  • Diagnose or repair malfunctioning instruments or equipment, using manufacturers' manuals and hand tools.
  • Prepare and attach packing instructions to shipping containers.
  • Apply new technologies, such as improved seismic imaging techniques, to locate untapped oil or natural gas deposits.
  • Collect data on underground areas, such as reservoirs, that could be used in carbon sequestration operations.
  • Collect geological data from potential geothermal energy plant sites.
  • Compile data used to address environmental issues, such as the suitability of potential landfill sites.
  • Conduct geophysical surveys of potential sites for wind farms or solar installations to determine their suitability.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - IHS PETRA; Landmark GeoGraphix; Schlumberger GeoFrame; Techsia Techlog (see all 10 examples)
  • Computer aided design CAD software - Autodesk AutoCAD ; Dynamic Graphics EarthVision; Midland Valley 2DMove
  • Data base reporting software - SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports
  • Data base user interface and query software - Database software; Microsoft Access
  • Graphics or photo imaging software - Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator ; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite
  • Map creation software - Clark Labs IDRISI Andes; ESRI ArcGIS software ; Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE; Surface III (see all 7 examples)
  • Mobile location based services software - Juniper Systems LandMark Mobile
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Augers - Hand augers
  • Binoculars - Surveillance binoculars
  • Calorimeters
  • Clinometers
  • Conductivity meters - Terrain conductivity meters
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras
  • Distance meters - Electronic distance meters
  • Drying cabinets or ovens - Laboratory drying ovens
  • Geological compasses - Directional compasses; Pocket transits
  • Global positioning system GPS receiver - Global positioning system GPS receivers
  • Gravimeters - Gravitational field indicators
  • Hammers - Geological hammers
  • Height gauges - Abney levels; Survey altimeters
  • Hydrometers - Digital hydrometers
  • Infrared spectrometers - Fourier transfer infrared FTIR spectrometers
  • Jaw crushers
  • Laboratory bailers - Water sampling bailers
  • Laboratory crushers or pulverizers - Laboratory pulverizers
  • Laboratory sifting equipment - Sieve shakers
  • Levels - Electronic digital levels; Hand levels
  • Magnetometer geophysical instruments - Magnetometers; Proton magnetometers
  • Magnifiers - Hand lenses
  • Map measurers - Planimeters
  • Measuring rods - Stadia rods
  • Multi gas monitors - Carbon hydrogen nitrogen CHN analyzers
  • Notebook computers - Laptop computers
  • Peristaltic pumps - Groundwater sampling peristaltic pumps
  • Personal computers
  • Picks - Rock picks
  • Pneumatic rock drills - Power rock coring drills
  • Portable data input terminals - Portable dataloggers
  • Radarbased surveillance systems - Ground penetrating radar GPR systems
  • Rangefinders - Laser rangefinders
  • Rock cutters - Rock saws
  • Scientific calculator - Scientific calculators
  • Seismic recorders or seismographs - Digital seismographs
  • Soil core sampling apparatus - Earth drills; Hydraulic vibracorers; Soil augers; Soil core samplers (see all 5 examples)
  • Still cameras - 35 millimeter cameras
  • Sulfur dioxide analyzers or detectors - Total sulfur analyzers
  • Test sieves - Laboratory sieves
  • Theodolites - Electronic digital theodolites; Total stations


  • 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.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • 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).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • 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.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • 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.


  • Interest code: CRI
    • 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.
    • 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.

Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 87% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail - 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 57% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 51% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 50% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 50% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Contact With Others - 57% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 65% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 50% responded “40 hours.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 42% responded “Very important results.”
  • Time Pressure - 51% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 42% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Letters and Memos - 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 28% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 30% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 32% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Level of Competition - 39% responded “Highly competitive.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 30% responded “Not important at all.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
29%Bachelor's degree
28%Master's degree

Work Styles

  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • 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.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

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.
  • Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

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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