Earth science technician


Also known as:

  • Earth science technical officer

What they do

Earth science technicians assist geologists, geophysicists and engineers by collecting and testing soil and water samples, recording observations and analysing data. They look after practical tasks involved in servicing remote field operations such as planning field work, arranging access to sites, and ordering and transporting supplies and equipment for field surveys. They may also be responsible for managing field camps and maintaining field equipment and vehicles.

In Western Australia, earth science technicians may work across a variety of fields such as mining, mineral exploration and energy resource exploration.

Specialisations include: Earth science laboratory technician, Geochemical laboratory technician, Geological technical officer, Geoscience laboratory technician, Hydrographical technical officer, Hydrological technical officer, Meteorological observer, Seismology technical officer, Soil science technical officer, Water resources technical officer

Working conditions

Earth science technicians work both in a laboratory environment and out in the field. They may work outdoors on drilling sites or take part in field surveys, which are sometimes conducted in remote locations throughout Western Australia. They may be required to live on site away from home or work on a fly-in, fly-out basis. They may also work shiftwork or evenings

Tools and technologies

Earth science technicians use digital technology to create maps, and global positioning technology (GPS) to establish locations of ore or rock deposits. They use geographical information systems (GIS) software to measure geographical features and present findings. They may use a range of scientific equipment to perform geochemical sampling, seismic surveys and meteorological observations, and computers are used for all data processing.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become an earth science technician, you usually need to gain a qualification in mining exploration, environmental monitoring and technology, laboratory techniques, laboratory technology or a related area.

The Certificate III in Mining Exploration, Certificate IV and Diploma of Environmental Monitoring and Technology, Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques, and Diploma of Laboratory Technology are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

You can also undertake a traineeship in laboratory techniques (level 4) or laboratory technology (level 5). The traineeships usually take 24 to 36 months to complete.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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