At its core, geological engineering involves designing structures and solving problems related to earth and its resources. Geological engineers can earn high wages, but their work often entails travel and remote fieldwork. If you think you'd like to work as a geological engineer, read on.
Inside Geological Engineering
The field of geological engineering is concerned with mineral and energy resources and exploration. Closely related to mining engineering, it involves the location and extraction of minerals from the earth and the identification of new sources of energy, like geothermal energy, for industrial use. Geological engineers also inspect geological conditions in areas of resource exploration for safety and feasibility.
The work of geological engineers often includes protecting the environment through proper waste disposal, water maintenance, erosion control and properly designed tunnels, dams and caverns. Some geological engineers mitigate the impacts of geologic hazards like landslides, volcanoes and earthquakes. Geological engineers must enjoy working outdoors in remote locations. Their work may entail traveling overseas to advise companies on site-specific methods for resource exploration.
Engineers of any specialty typically need at least a bachelor's degree to obtain an entry-level engineering job. Geological engineers may need to obtain graduate degrees for advancement in the field or for research and academic positions.
Students in geological engineering programs simultaneously study earth science and geo-engineering. Many programs emphasize environmental awareness through sustainable designs and practices. Some programs offer several specialties or tracks, such as ground and surface water remediation, mining and reclamation, sustainability or geo-hazards. Graduates of these programs commonly work in consulting firms, federal and state governments or the oil and gas industry.
The Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the accrediting organization for degree programs in this field of study. Use the links below to find information about geological engineering and closely related programs.
- Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Geological Engineering
- Master's Degree in Oil and Gas Engineering
- Degree Programs in Structural Engineering
- Degree Programs in Petroleum Engineering
- Top Schools for Geotechnical Engineering
Distance Learning Options
Currently, online programs in geological engineering are rare. Aspiring geological engineers interested in distance learning can opt to enroll in a related online engineering degree program. For those with bachelor's degrees, a few online master's degree programs are available in geotechnical engineering. Online courses in geology are also readily available.
- Top Online Engineering Schools
- Online Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering
- For-Credit Online Geology Courses
- Free Online Geology Courses
Graduates of geological engineering degree programs often work as engineers, technicians and consultants. Below is a list of possible careers for geological engineers. Find more career information on Education-Portal.com.
- Geotechnical Engineer
- Geological Data Technician
- Geology Consultant
- Petroleum Engineer
- Mining Engineer
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of mining and geological engineers was projected to grow by 12% between 2012 and 2022, due to the continued demand for mining operations (www.bls.gov). Geological engineers typically earn high salaries, particularly those who work in the oil and gas industry. The mean annual wage among all mining and geological engineers was $96,950 in May 2013, also per the BLS.
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