Petroleum Technician

Help drilling operations by interpreting maps and analyzing samples.
picture of Petroleum Technician

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$30,000 – $100,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Petroleum Technicians do?

Reserves of oil and natural gas often like to stay where they are—deep within the ground. Drill them with imprecision and they may explode, or simply shift a bit to the right or left and elude the drill altogether. The job of a Petroleum Technician is to determine the best way to extract these shifty reserves.

You spend much of your day as a Petroleum Technician in a laboratory, running studies and writing reports so your superiors can make detailed drilling plans. While you may not be writing the plans yourself, the work you do is absolutely integral in helping to create strategies that work.

You examine maps to determine the best place to set a drill. You also inspect materials from the site to ascertain what substances are located above the reserves. Additionally, you test the materials you find at the bottom of deep holes to determine how pure the reserves are.

In some cases, you may drive out to the site and dig these holes yourself. But some companies choose to hire other people to dig out these samples.

If drilling moves forward, you use detailed modeling programs to finalize the drilling program. You examine reports from the field each day to make sure the program is working. If it’s not, you recommend adjustments.

As a Petroleum Technician, you may be required to travel as part of your work, since many oil and gas reserves are located overseas. Traveling will allow you to learn many languages, and you’ll become quite familiar with the feeling of sand in your shoes.


Should I be a Petroleum Technician?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Materials Technician, Mining Technician, Petroleum Analyst, Soils Technician

    How to become a Petroleum Technician

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Petroleum Technician-related education!
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