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Engineering geologist: job description

Engineering geologist: job description

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.
There has been a recent growth in the number of opportunities within engineering geology. However, it is still a small profession.

What does an engineering geologist do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Typical responsibilities include:

  • collecting, analysing and interpreting data
  • accessing, using and analysing site information (such as radar images, aerial photographs, reports and geological maps) prior to site investigations
  • visiting sites
  • preparing reports
  • providing advice and information to clients on a range of issues including for example proposed use, subsidence and construction materials
  • ensuring that projects keep to budgets and timescales
  • managing and liaising with construction engineers, consultants, contractors and geotechnical engineers
  • managing projects and setting objectives
  • planning, organising and undertaking field work/site investigations
  • collecting and analysing rock, bedrock and near-surface deposits
  • using specialist computer applications

Typical employers of engineering geologists

Most engineering geologists are employed by civil engineering consultancies and contractors, environmental consultancies and geotechnical/geo-environmental companies.

Vacancies are advertised via the internet, by specialist recruitment agencies, in national newspapers and publications such as TARGETjobs Engineering, New Civil Engineer, Geoscientist and Ground Engineering. Speculative applications via CV and covering letter are advisable – the British Geotechnical Association maintains a list of geotechnical services consultancy firms that may provide useful contact information. Read more about how to make a speculative application.

Qualifications and training required

A variety of degree subjects are acceptable for entry into the profession. These include geology, geography, geophysics/geotechnology, civil engineering, physics, engineering geology and mining/mineral engineering. Postgraduate qualifications (MSc/PhD) in relevant/specialist subjects are normally advantageous, and essential for candidates without relevant first degrees. 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/experience it is possible to obtain chartered geologist status.

Key skills for engineering geologists

Employers seek motivated, flexible candidates with good teamworking, analytical, communication, organisational, interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Relevant fieldwork experience may be of benefit; this can be obtained via work shadowing, placements or vacation jobs. A full, clean driving licence is often needed too.

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