Geological and petroleum technicians assist scientists and engineers with the analysis of geological samples. Commonly called mud loggers because they work with mud and drill cuttings, these technicians are important in the identification of new sites to mine and drill for oil, natural gas, metallic ore or minerals. About 75 percent of all mud loggers earn at least $18 per hour as of 2010.
The average salary for a mud logger as of May 2010 was $29.04 per hour, or $60,410 per year, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The middle 50 percent of these technicians were making $18.75 to $35.53 per hour, or $38,990 to $73,910 per year. The bottom 10 percent of the wage scale was at or below $14.40 per hour, or $29,950 per year. The top 10 percent were earning more than $48 per hour, or $99,860 per year and more.
Types of Employment
The largest numbers of mud loggers work in three types of employment. Their average annual salary in oil and gas extraction in 2010 was $65,290, in support activities for mining $53,780 and in architectural, engineering and related services $46,560. Petroleum and coal products manufacturers provided the highest average pay for mud loggers, at $100,540 per year.
High Employment States
Texas had the highest employment level by far for this occupation in 2010, with about 5,520 of the nation’s estimated 13,560 mud loggers. Louisiana ranked second, with about 1,550 mud loggers. Their average salary in Texas was $58,990 per year and in Louisiana $59,730. California had about 1,280 mud loggers in 2010, earning $93,280 per year on average.
At an average salary of $93,280 per year, California was the top-paying state for mud loggers. The average salary there was nearly 20 percent higher than that in second-ranked Nevada, at $76,020. Rounding out the top five highest-paying states for mud loggers were Alaska, at an average annual pay rate of $67,190, New York at an average of $64,360 and West Virginia at $62,270. In two U.S. metropolitan areas, mud loggers earned more than $40 per hour. Their average salary in the greater Las Vegas, Nevada, area, was $47.58 per hour, or $98,960 per year, and in Anchorage, Alaska, $40.14 per hour, or $83,480 per year.