Geological and hydrologic technicians typically do the following:
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.
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.
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.