A geotechnician


Geotechnicians collect and process rock and soil samples for geomechanical testing. They also describe the quality of rock mass, including structure, discontinuities, colour and weathering. Mine geotechnicians may measure the size of underground openings. They report the collected information to geologists and engineers as required.

Geotechnicians typically do the following:

  • prepare rock, soil and water samples for testing
  • analyse the chemical and physical properties of samples
  • obtain and process geophysical data
  • log well and borehole drilling activity
  • interpret data from seismic surveys
  • prepare geological maps
  • support teaching staff in university
  • train and supervise staff
  • produce reports for engineers and scientists

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to geotechnician:

mine geotechnician
surface logging technician
logging geologist
surface logging specialist
surface logger
geological operator
geological expert
mine geological technician
formation evaluation engineer
logging engineer

Working conditions

Most geotechnicians work in a laboratory environment but also participate in field work. This means working outdoors in extreme weather and coming into contact with natural processes like erosion, flooding or rockslides. Some geotechnicians remain indoors in a laboratory environment conducting lab research and drafting reports. Others pursue a path in education, becoming instructors for the next generation of geotechnicians.

Minimum qualifications

Typically, a geotechnician earns a bachelor’s degree in geotechnical engineering or some equivalent field of study. However, a bachelor’s degree in scientific disciplines like chemistry, geology or hydrology may be an alternative. A background in civil engineering is also helpful for pursuing a career as a geotechnician.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Geotechnician is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Geotechnician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to geotechnician.

geology technician
air pollution analyst
mine surveying technician
mine shift manager
mine safety officer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of geotechnician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of geotechnician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

mining geotechnical engineer
mineral processing engineer
mine health and safety engineer
mud logger

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of geotechnician.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of geotechnician.

  • Use a computer: Utilise computer equipment or digital devices to facilitate quality control, data management, and communication. Follow instructions given by a computer programme, create computer files or documents.
  • Collect samples: Set up and operate equipment to collect water, gas or soil samples for testing.
  • Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
  • Install rock movement monitoring devices: Install and operate monitoring devices, such as extensometers to measure deformation and movement, pressure cells to measure stresses and geophones to measure microseismicity.
  • Prepare technical reports: Prepare technical reports that describe results and processes of scientific or technical research, or assess its progress. These reports help researchers to keep up to date with recent findings.
  • Perform sample testing: Examine and perform tests on prepared samples; avoid any possibility of accidental or deliberate contamination during the testing phase. Operate sampling equipment in line with design parameters.
  • Prepare samples for testing: Take and prepare samples for testing, verify their representability; avoid bias and any possibility of accidental or deliberate contamination. Provide clear numbering, labelling and recording of the sample details, in order to make sure that the results can be accurately matched to the original material.
  • Test raw minerals: Take samples of mineral materials for testing purposes. Execute various chemical and physical tests on the materials.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of geotechnician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of geotechnician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

3117 – Mining and metallurgical technicians

  1. Geotechnician – ESCO
  2. Geotechnician | Explore careers – National Careers Service
  3. What Is a Geotechnician? The Definitive Career Guide – Australia
  4. Featured image: Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels
Last updated on January 24, 2023

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