CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 27, 2014
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How to Become a Geotechnician

If you are passionate about exploring natural resources and if you can master the art of application of engineering and science methods, a dynamic career choice that you may consider for your future is that of a Geotechnician.

Geotechnicians are people entrusted with the task of collecting and analysing information from various rocks. Their primary responsibility is to help professional geoscientists in their work.

Job

Geotechnicians are expected to perform various tasks such as:

  • Preparation of rock, soil and water samples for testing
  • Preparation of geological maps
  • Analysis of chemical and physical properties of samples
  • Processing of geophysical data
  • Interpretation of data from seismic surveys
  • Supporting teaching staff
  • Maintenance of quality standards
  • Servicing laboratory equipment
  • Producing reports for engineers and scientists

Working hours and conditions

Your working hours are usually 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally have to work evenings and weekends so as to meet deadlines.

You are based in laboratory almost all your time. You are expected to wear protective clothing and use safety equipment while on job.

Remuneration Scheme

Starting salaries 

£12,500 to £15,000 a year 

After experience

£20,000 to £32,000 a year 

Source:nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk

Entry requirements

To be able to start as a junior technician, you must possess five GCSEs grades A-C, including English, a Science subject and Mathematics. Many employers, however, seek a relevant A levels or a BTEC Diploma in Applied Science, a BTEC HNC/HND, or possibly a degree with majors in Geology.

When seeking employment, it is advantageous to hold practical experience in this field. You may consider joining local geological group or you may use The Geologists’ Directory to find details of companies working in the area of geology you are interested in.

To further enrich your practical skills, you may consider some formal work experience schemes. For this, you may refer to The Geological Society.

Various certificate courses in the Extraction and Mineral Processing Industries are also offered by Mineral Products Qualifications Council.

Training

Once employed, you are generally trained on-the-job by your employer. You are trained in house on the use of various techniques and equipments. Your employer may encourage you towards various further qualifications such as degree in geology.

You may also consider working towards an NVQ in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities, available at levels 2 to 4.

Skills and Interests Needed

To become a successful geoscientist, it is vital that you demonstrate the following:

  • Technical know-how
  • Good scientific skills
  • Excellent observational and analytical skills
  • Be able to pay close attention to detail
  • Strong Mathematical skills
  • Patience
  • Good IT skills
  • Practical skills
  • Ability to work without direct supervision

Career Prospects

As a geotechnician, you may find employment within the oil and gas sector, in engineering and water companies. You may also get employed at various universities and colleges offering geology courses.

After acquiring significant experience, you may move up the career ladder by progressing to managerial or supervisory roles.

This profession demands a lot of dedication and sincerity. You may have to turn every stone to prove your strength else you may never gain professional satisfaction out of your work.

Image source: http://www.altonamining.com/

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