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Geological and Geophysical Technologist

Geological and geophysical technologists apply their knowledge of the study of the Earth in exploration, production and management. They may work independently or with a team of geologists, geophysicists, mining engineers or petroleum engineers.

Also Known As:Engineering Technologist, Geophysical Technologist, Physical Sciences Technician/Technologist
NOC Number(s):2212.1
Minimum Education:2 years post-secondary education/training
Employment Outlook:Job openings generated due to employment turnover. Occupational outlook currently unavailable.
Interests:O I d

Duties | Working Conditions | Personal Characteristics | Education | Related Legislation | Employment | Salary | Other Information | Related Occupations | Related School Subjects | Related Field of Study

Duties

Geological and geophysical technologists involved in exploration:

  • interpret well log and core data to produce cross-sections, determine reservoir parameters and create geological maps
  • interpret geological data from aerial photos, boreholes, satellite imagery and LiDAR (light detecting and ranging) surveys 
  • organize and conduct geophysical and geochemical surveys
  • collect and describe rock and soil samples
  • interpret maps, cross-sections and reports
  • prepare or supervise the preparation of samples and perform laboratory tests
  • prepare, transcribe and analyze data
  • use computers to record and process geological and seismic data and prepare maps
  • assist with two, three and four dimensional studies and interpretations
  • link all available data, including seismic and well data, to create geologic maps
  • interpret hydrogeological maps, reports and studies.

Those involved in production:

  • prepare and maintain subsurface and surface survey plans
  • interpret well log and core data to produce cross-sections, determine reservoir parameters and create geological maps
  • conduct mineral grade control studies and maintain databases
  • conduct soil and groundwater field tests
  • monitor contaminant migration and dispersion
  • determine aquifer characteristics and water quality
  • recommend environmental assessment and remediation techniques  
  • supervise equipment operators and other technologists.

In management, geological and geophysical technologists:

  • maintain geological and geophysical databases for resource companies
  • prepare cost and budget estimation for various resource projects
  • supervise logistical manoeuvres related to exploration programs
  • prepare reports and make presentations.

In addition to the general duties listed above, geological technologists may:

  • analyze core samples from drilling
  • organize and supervise drilling for mineral exploration and water well completions
  • help evaluate mineral deposits and potential mining locations
  • assess the environmental impact of development projects on subsurface materials.

Geophysical technologists may:

  • take and record magnetic, electromagnetic, gravity and resistivity measurements
  • conduct or direct geophysical prospecting field trips, exploratory drilling, well logging programs and seismic crew operations
  • operate and maintain geophysical survey and well logging instruments and equipment
  • process seismic data, which includes operating computers to record and process seismic data, writing reports and preparing maps.

Working Conditions

Geological and geophysical technologists often work in laboratories and offices that are located in major cities or field offices. Lab work can be noisy, dusty and involve the use of chemicals. Safety precautions include using earplugs and safety shoes, and working in rooms that have special ventilation systems.

Some technologists spend three to six months a year working in the field, sometimes in remote locations where a lot of hiking is required. They may travel for long distances and work at locations where safety precautions are required to avoid injury (for example, well sites and plants). Considerable overtime and weekend work may be required.

Technologists may be required to lift equipment and samples weighing up to 20 kilograms.


Personal Characteristics

Geological and geophysical technologists need the following characteristics:

  • excellent analytical and creative problem solving skills
  • an aptitude for working with computers
  • good organizational skills
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • good judgement
  • the ability to work well with others in a team environment.

They should enjoy working with instruments and equipment at tasks requiring precision, analyzing data and supervising the work of others.


Educational Requirements

In general, a related two year technology diploma or a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree is required to work as a geological or geophysical technologist in Alberta.

In Alberta, the following post-secondary institutions offer two year technology diploma programs:

  • The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton offers two year diploma programs in geological technology and petroleum engineering technology. Entrance requirements include English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2, Pure Math 30 and one of the following courses: Science 30, Physics 30, Chemistry 30 (or at least 65 per cent in Biology 30 for the geological technology program). Both programs are nationally accredited.
  • The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary offers two year diploma programs in exploration information technology and petroleum engineering technology. The admission requirement for the exploration information technology is a high school diploma with English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2, Pure Math 30 (or 75 per cent in Applied Math 30) and a 20 level science (excluding Science 24 and 26). The entrance requirement for the petroleum engineering technology program is a high school diploma with at least 60 per cent in English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2, Pure Math 30 (or 75 per cent in Applied Math 30), Chemistry 30 and Science 30 or Physics 20. 

The  University of Alberta in Edmonton and the University of Calgary offer four year B.Sc.degree programs in earth and atmospheric sciences, geology and geophysics. Admission requirements vary from one program to another but generally include a competitive average in English Language Arts (ELA) 30-1, Pure Math 30, two of Biology 30, Chemistry 30, Physics 30, Math 31 or Computer Science (CSE) Advanced level, Career and Technology Studies (CTS), and one other approved grade 12 subject. For B.Sc. (Specialization or Honors) in Atmospheric Sciences: Standard admission with ELA 30-1, Chemistry 30, Physics 30 and Pure Math 30, plus one other approved Grade 12 subject. For B.Sc. (Specialization or Honors) in Environmental Earth Sciences and Paleontology: Standard Admission with ELA 30-1, Biology 30, Chemistry 30, Pure Math 30 plus one other approved Grade 12 subject. For B.Sc. (Specialization or Honors) in Geology: Standard Admission with ELA 30-1, Chemistry 30, Pure Math 30, one of Biology 30, Math 31 or Physics 30, plus one other approved Grade 12 subject.

Continuing education programs may be offered on an as needed basis.

For current information about programs, admission requirements and mature student admission policies, please check post-secondary calendars or websites.

Section revised August 2012

Related Legislation

Certification with the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta - ASET is voluntary. Certified Engineering Technologists often practice in integrated work teams. Professional Technologists (Engineering) are licensed by ASET to practice independently.


Employment and Advancement

Geological and geophysical technologists are employed by:

  • oil and gas companies
  • resource service companies
  • engineering consulting firms
  • mining and mineral exploration companies
  • environmental consulting companies
  • environmental equipment and technology companies
  • government departments and agencies.

Experienced geological and geophysical technologists may advance to supervisory and management positions.

Geological and geophysical technologists are part of the larger National Occupational Classification 2212: Geological and Mineral Technologists and Technicians. In Alberta, 85 per cent of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Section revised November 2013

Salary

According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Geological and Mineral Technologists and Technicians occupational group earned on average from $23.16 to $39.00 an hour. The mean wage for this group was $28.17 an hour.

For more detailed information, see WAGEinfo and ASET's Annual Salary Surveys.

Section revised February 2012

Other Sources of Information

Post-secondary institution calendars and websites (see Educational Requirements above)

EDINFO website: www.alis.alberta.ca/edinfo

Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta - ASET website: www.aset.ab.ca


Related Occupational Profiles
Exploration Geophysicist
Geologist
Geotechnical Engineer
Hydrometric Technician and Technologist
Petroleum Engineering Technologist

Related High School Subjects
English Language Arts; Mathematics; Natural Resources (Environmental Stewardship; and Primary Resources); and Science (Chemistry; and Physics)

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
Engineering and Science Technologies; and Sciences

Produced November 2009
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For more information on career planning, occupations and educational programs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website at alis.alberta.ca, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

The information contained in this profile was current as of the dates shown. Salaries, employment outlook and educational programs may change. Please check the information before making any career decisions.


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