Geo-technical engineers analyse soil, rock, groundwater and other earth materials prior to major construction projects.
The Role
  • Gathering and analysing data
  • Looking at the risk of geological hazards and make sure that any factors affecting engineering works are identified and managed
  • Advising on procedures required and the suitability of construction materials
  • Using specialist computer software to create analytical two and three-dimensional models
  • Consulting geological maps and aerial photographs to advise on site selection
  • Assisting with the design of built structures, using specialised computer software or calculations
  • Planning detailed field investigations by drilling and analysing samples of deposits or bedrock
  • Supervising ground investigations and budgets
  • Advising on and testing a range of construction materials including sand, gravel, bricks and clay
  • Making recommendations on the proposed use of a site
  • Managing staff, including other engineering geologists, geotechnical engineers, consultants and contractors
  • Working to preserve and protect the physical environment
  • Analysing sites and designs for environmentally sensitive developments, such as landfill
  • Newly trained geotechnical engineers can earn in the region of £20,000 - £25,000
  • Trained with experience geotechnical engineers can earn in the region of £25,000 - £32,000
  • Senior, chartered or master geotechnical engineers can earn in the region of £32,000 - £40,000
Salaries typically range depending on location and level of responsibility. Salaries and career options improve with chartered status.
Qualifications & Training
To become a Geotechnical Engineer you will need specific qualifications, which are offered by a limited number of UK universities. To get onto a degree course you need A-levels or equivalent such as Scottish Nationals or Highers, or the Welsh Baccalaureate. Relevant degree subjects include Geology, Geophysics/geotechnology, Engineering geology, and Mineral/mining engineering. There are a number of first degree geoscience courses accredited by the Geological Society. By completing an accredited degree, you usually qualify for membership (Fellowship) of the society after gaining relevant postgraduate experience. This is also the route to become a chartered geologist (CGeol), after a period of professional development and experience. If you have a background in civil engineering or the sciences, it is sometimes possible to enter the field through the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) or the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). A postgraduate qualification, such as a Masters (MSc) in engineering geology, geotechnical engineering, hydrogeology, soil or rock mechanics, or foundation engineering is desirable.  An accreditation scheme for taught postgraduate MSc courses is also available.