Geotechnical Engineer Career

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2018

Do you want a geotechnical engineer career?

Landfills, dams, retaining walls, pile design, buildings, bridges and earthworks…

These are some of the projects geotechnical engineers work on.

Geotechnical engineers understand the behavior of earth materials.

By using rock and soil mechanics, they investigate subsurface conditions.

From their findings, geotechnical engineers can improve design for earthworks and structure foundation.

Typical salaries for geotechnical engineers

Geotechnical engineering has seen a rapid expansion over the years.

This field is growing rapidly which includes pay scale.

For example, geotechnical engineers often earn upwards of 84,000$ depending on education and experience.

Geotechnical engineers often work in the private sector for engineering firms.

There are also jobs in education and government for geotechnical engineering.

Often, employers are clustered in construction and civil engineering.

Geotechnical engineers spend time in the field and office

At the start of a project, an engineer designs a structure with a certain load pushed on earth.

Based on load characteristics, geotechnical engineers design foundations using the soil and rock mechanics and properties.

This means that geotechnical engineers often oversee drilling and sampling operations on site.

After they collect boreholes cores, they review test results in laboratory.

Finally, they can determine the appropriate parameters for an engineering analysis.

Industries like construction, transportation and mining hire geotechnical engineers

Various industries use geotechnical studies in different ways.

For example, a retaining wall, landfills or dam site may be interested in performing a slope stability analysis.

But the transportation industry may use pavement evaluations and pile design studies for roadway and bridge projects.

In design and earthwork, geotechnical investigations contribute to understanding the types of foundations for building construction

Finally, site reconnaissance is useful in mining to identify potential access issues and any geotechnical issues that could affect project development.

Education requirements for geotechnical engineers

Civil engineering, soil sciences and geoscience degrees are often the most sought after degrees for geotechnical engineering careers.

In college, mineralogy, material science and sedimentology are particularly useful courses to be familiar with.

When you pair soil deposition and formation with the structures of minerals and their composition….

You can get better groundwork to predict their behaviors.

In addition to these courses, you need a solid understanding in atomic structures at the basic level of chemistry.

In conclusion

If you don’t like playing with rocks and dirt, then a geotechnical engineering career is probably not going to be of interest to you.

From pile design to earthworks, there are tons of opportunities for geotechnical engineers to get their hands dirty.

These opportunities exist in construction, transportation, military, mining and petroleum.

Are you interested in a geotechnical engineer career? Let us know in the comments below.

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