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Career profile Explosive Technician

Also known as Blast Hole Driller, Blaster, Explosive Technician, Powderman, Unexploded Ordnance Quality Control Officer

Explosive Technician

Also known as Blast Hole Driller, Blaster, Explosive Technician

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$33,440 - $73,650 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Monitoring
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Signal crane operators to move equipment.
  • Set up and operate equipment such as hoists, jackhammers, and drills, in order to bore charge holes.
  • Operate machines to flush earth cuttings or to blow dust from holes.
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What does an Explosive Technician do?

Explosive Technicians place and detonate explosives to demolish structures or to loosen, remove, or displace earth, rock, or other materials.

In addition, Explosive Technicians may perform specialized handling, storage, and accounting procedures.

What kind of tasks does an Explosive Technician perform regularly?

Explosive Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Examine blast areas to determine amounts and kinds of explosive charges needed and to ensure that safety laws are observed.
  • Tie specified lengths of delaying fuses into patterns in order to time sequences of explosions.
  • Place safety cones around blast areas to alert other workers of danger zones, and signal workers as necessary to ensure that they clear blast sites prior to explosions.
  • Place explosive charges in holes or other spots; then detonate explosives to demolish structures or to loosen, remove, or displace earth, rock, or other materials.
  • Insert, pack, and pour explosives, such as dynamite, ammonium nitrate, black powder, or slurries into blast holes; then shovel drill cuttings, admit water into boreholes, and tamp material to compact charges.
  • Mark patterns, locations, and depths of charge holes for drilling, and issue drilling instructions.
  • Compile and keep gun and explosives records in compliance with local and federal laws.
  • Measure depths of drilled blast holes, using weighted tape measures.
  • Connect electrical wire to primers, and cover charges or fill blast holes with clay, drill chips, sand, or other material.
  • Lay primacord between rows of charged blast holes, and tie cord into main lines to form blast patterns.
  • Assemble and position equipment, explosives, and blasting caps in holes at specified depths, or load perforating guns or torpedoes with explosives.
  • Verify detonation of charges by observing control panels, or by listening for the sounds of blasts.
  • Move and store inventories of explosives, loaded perforating guns, and other materials, according to established safety procedures.
  • Light fuses, drop detonating devices into wells or boreholes, or activate firing devices with plungers, dials, or buttons, in order to set off single or multiple blasts.
  • Drive trucks to transport explosives and blasting equipment to blasting sites.
  • Cut specified lengths of primacord and attach primers to cord ends.
  • Maintain inventory levels, ordering new supplies as necessary.
  • Repair and service blasting, shooting, and automotive equipment, and electrical wiring and instruments, using hand tools.

The above responsibilities are specific to Explosive Technicians. More generally, Explosive Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.

What is an Explosive Technician salary?

The median salary for an Explosive Technician is $48,510, and the average salary is $51,040. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Explosive Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Explosive Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Explosive Technicians earn less than $33,440 per year, 25% earn less than $39,690, 75% earn less than $60,190, and 90% earn less than $73,650.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Explosive Technicians is expected to change by 8.2%, and there should be roughly 3,000 open positions for Explosive Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$48,510
Typical salary range
$33,440 - $73,650
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
8.2%

What personality traits are common among Explosive Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Explosive Technician are usually higher in their Realistic, Investigative, and Conventional interests.

Explosive Technicians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Explosive Technicians typically have strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Lastly, Explosive Technicians typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Explosive Technician tend to value Support, Independence, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Explosive Technicians very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Explosive Technicians moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Explosive Technicians moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Explosive Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Explosive Technicians, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

What education and training do Explosive Technicians need?

Working as an Explosive Technician usually requires a high school diploma.

Explosive Technicians need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Explosive Technicians

  • 17.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 49.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 20.6% completed some college coursework
  • 5.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 5.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Explosive Technicians

Explosive Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as public safety and security, law and government, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Explosive Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Transportation
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.

Important Abilities needed by Explosive Technicians

Explosive Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Explosive Technicians need abilities such as near vision, problem sensitivity, and manual dexterity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Explosive Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.

Critical Skills needed by Explosive Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Explosive Technicians frequently use skills like active listening, monitoring, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Explosive Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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