Oceanographic Instrumentation Technician

Recognized Skill Standards
October 18, 2011

The Oceanographic Instrumentation Technician (OIT) Skill Standards were developed by a panel of marine industry subject matter experts in a workshop coordinated by the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center (MATE), a National Science Foundation-funded Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center of Excellence.  The workshop panel combined their individual expertise with results from a survey of technicians and supervisors working in the marine environment to develop an occupational definition and outline the job functions and tasks for an OIT. 

Oceanographic Instrumentation Technicians collect scientific measurements that are necessary to understand how to use the ocean and its resources more safely and wisely. While ocean measurements are still made for exploration and research, more and more data are being collected to support commercial missions including optimizing shipping routes, managing fisheries, mitigating oil spills, and forecasting storm surge.  Like the global network of weather stations that monitors the atmosphere, ocean observing systems provide current conditions and report on events such as pollution alerts for beachgoers, ocean temperatures for recreation and fishing, harmful algal bloom warnings for shellfish harvesters, and wave conditions for surfers.

Importance to Texas
No Bureau of Labor Statistics data exist specifically for OIT’s. MATE’s research indicates that an entry level OIT with an associate degree can earn between $27,000 and $50,000 per year. An online salary database (simplyhired.com) indicates that the average yearly salary for OIT’s in Texas is $48,000. Employment data are not available.

Representatives from two Texas employers - Fugro Global Environmental and Ocean Sciences and BMT Scientific Marine Services - requested that Texas recognize the skill standards based on a need for a trained oceanographic workforce in the state.  The OIT skill standards were recognized on October 18, 2011.