Engineering geologist: job description – TARGETjobs

Engineering geologists undertake technical and scientific analysis of rock, soil, groundwater and other conditions to determine the likely impact that major construction developments will have on sites.
Engineering geology is a niche profession, but employers include engineering and construction companies.
What does an engineering geologist do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills
Engineering geologists are responsible for identifying the geological factors that could affect construction projects. They analyse ground materials to assess their risk factors and advise on the best procedures for developments and the suitability of construction materials.
Engineering geologists have a similar job function to geotechnical engineers and some who study engineering geology go on to be geotechnical engineers. However, geotechnical engineering can arguably be seen as a specialism of civil engineering; engineering geologists, meanwhile, are first and foremost geologists who apply geological principles to construction works to determine where certain kinds of earth materials occur. It’s a grey area, though, and geological professionals often debate the definitions between themselves. If engineering geologists work for an engineering consultancy, they will usually be working in the same team as geotechnical engineers and that team is often called ‘geotechnical’ or ‘ground engineering’.
Typical responsibilities of the engineering geologist include:
Engineering geologists could specialise in natural hazards, hydrogeology, rock mechanics, petrology and geochemistry – to name but a few specialist areas.
Engineering geologists tend to split their time between office and sites: office hours are typical, but site work can involve longer days.
Vacancies are typically advertised by university careers services, specialist recruitment agencies, occasionally on targetjobs, in national newspapers and in publications such as targetjobs Engineering , New Civil Engineer , Geoscientist and Ground Engineering .
It’s a niche career area and so sending speculative applications for both graduate roles and work experience is advisable – the British Geotechnical Association maintains a list of geotechnical services consultancy firms that may provide useful contact information. Read our advice feature on how to write a speculative application .
A career in engineering geology is only open to those with a relevant degree. Subjects include geology, geography, geophysics/geotechnology, civil engineering, physics, engineering geology and mining/mineral engineering. Many graduates also have a masters or a doctorate in a subject such as engineering geology, geotechnical engineering, soil mechanics or rock mechanics – and some employers prefer or require a postgraduate qualification.
Graduates can obtain fellowship membership of the Geological Society of London by having an accredited undergraduate geoscience degree or by gaining several years of relevant experience. With appropriate professional development and experience it is possible to obtain chartered geologist status.
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