How to become a Science Field Officer

Science field officers perform support functions in the field by making observations, collecting and analysing samples, recording information, and looking after the practical tasks involved in maintaining a remote field operation, or operating a city-based office, laboratory or workshop. They may specialise in a number of different areas, such as agriculture, environment, forestry, geoscience and marine science.

Personal requirements for a Science Field Officer

  • Enjoy scientific activities
  • Able to prepare accurate records and reports
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Willing to work in remote locations

Education & Training for a Science Field Officer

To become a science field officer you usually have to complete a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in science at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Additional information

A current drivers licence is usually required. In addition, applicants may need to be 18 years of age or older and hold a Provide First Aid Certificate.

Duties & Tasks of a Science Field Officer

Science field officers:

  • Order, check, pack and ship equipment and supplies for field surveys
  • Manage or maintain small field camps
  • Mark outlines of ore, waste and drillhole patterns in operating mines
  • Collect, record and transport samples of rock, soil, plants, water or other materials
  • Sort information collected from a range of samples and carry out computer processing of the data
  • Assist with all aspects of supporting personnel in the field
  • Operate and maintain collections and a wide range of equipment (mechanical, electrical, computing).

Tasks

  • Performs routine mathematical calculations and computations of measurement..
  • Collects information and samples..
  • Controls the quality and quantity of laboratory supplies by testing samples and monitoring usage..
  • Prepares materials for experimentation, including freezing and slicing specimens and mixing chemicals..
  • Checks, calibrates and maintains test equipment..
  • Participates in fabricating, installing and modifying equipment to ensure that critical standards are met..
  • Conducts field and laboratory experiments, tests and analyses..
  • Presents results in graphic or written form by preparing maps charts, sketches, diagrams and reports..

Working conditions for a Science Field Officer

Science field officers may be required to spend long periods working in remote locations throughout Australia and overseas, but may also work in exclusively city-based operations.


Employment Opportunities for a Science Field Officer

Science field officers may work for mining and exploration companies, engineering and construction firms, and environmental organisations. Some science field officers may also work for government agencies in a variety of science areas. Science field officers may progress to such roles as technical assistants and technical officers. They may also be involved in laboratory work. Many officers work on a contract basis as demand is seasonal. Job opportunities also largely depend on the level of activity in scientific research. Competition is very strong for available entry-level positions.


Specializations

Geoscience Technician

A geoscience technician assists earth scientists such as geologists, engineers and geophysicists to find and develop mineral and fuel resources. They make observations, collect and analyse samples, record information and look after the practical tasks involved in servicing remote field operations.

Science Field Officer

Science field officers perform support functions in the field by making observations, collecting and analysing samples, recording information, and looking after the practical tasks involved in maintaining a remote field operation, or operating a city-based office, laboratory or workshop. They may specialise in a number of different areas, such as agriculture, environment, forestry, geoscience and marine science.

  • Average age
    Average age
    44 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    35% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    42 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,500
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    High skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    71% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    1,300 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.8%
    NSW: 26.0%
    NT: 1.9%
    QLD: 16.6%
    SA: 6.5%
    TAS: 1.5%
    VIC: 29.8%
    WA: 15.9%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 1.1%
    20-24: 6.2%
    25-34: 20%
    35-44: 23%
    45-54: 26.2%
    55-59: 10.8%
    60-64: 7.7%
    65 and Over: 4.9%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 18.2%
    Bachelor degree: 24%
    Certificate III/IV: 26.4%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 9.6%
    Year 10 and below: 6.5%
    Year 11: 2.6%
    Year 12: 12.7%
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