The Career of a Geotechnical Engineer

Considering a job in the construction sector? Want to learn a trade? Consider looking deeper into the construction industry and applying Health and Safety training to amplify your career prospects. Someone in the knowledge of Health and Safety Legislation and is willing to work in conjunction with safety needs will guarantee a higher salary and more meaningful position. A geotechnical engineer is closely linked with engineering, geology and ground engineering, and there is even room to specialise in geotechnics or work for a geotechnical company but be known as an engineering geologist or a ground engineer.

As a Geotechnical Engineer, you will be exposed to different environments at every turn, but your training and expertise will ensure you are prepared for all of them. They use their in-depth knowledge of the environment, soil, and rock to assess risk and solve problems in diverse infrastructure projects. This testing ensures the safety of construction and minimises risk to humans and the environment. These risks can occur as both natural hazards like landslides, to human intervention.

As A Geotechnical Engineer, You’ll Need To:

  • build and maintain relationships with clients and other professionals involved in the site, throughout each project
  • maintain safety standards on site
  • be aware of cost implications when you make recommendations
  • complete three stages for each project

The Three Stages Consist Of:

Stage One

  • study geological maps and aerial photographs from a range of sources and from different time periods
  • examine construction plans to see how feasible they are based on your understanding of the site
  • investigate risks or geological hazards for the site
  • search for environmentally sensitive features, such as landfill
  • start to develop factual and interpretive ground models
  • plan field investigations

Stage Two

  • drill and analyse samples of bedrock, soil, groundwater, and additional materials
  • supervise other professionals on-site
  • solve technical issues as they arise, such as unexpected structures at drill sites
  • monitor conditions during and after construction to make sure structures are stable in the short and long term

Stage Three

  • adding data collected on-site to your initial research
  • creating geotechnical calculations, drawings, and two or three-dimensional computer models interpreting the data
  • making recommendations about the proposed use of the site

Salary For Geotechnical Engineers

When you first graduate as a geotechnical engineer, you’ll earn around £18,000 to £28,000. This will grow after around 5 years of experience, and you can expect to earn between £26,000 and £36,000. As a senior, chartered or master geotechnical engineer role, you’ll earn in the region of £40,000 to £60,000.

Working Hours for Geotechnical Engineers

When you first start out in this career, like many, extra hours are a common occurrence because of the significant amount of time spent on construction sites. However, as your career progresses a more regular, 9am to 5pm work schedule is more common and sought after. Be aware that this job is rare to find as a part-time occurrence.

What To Expect in Day to Day as A Geotechnical Engineer

One of the great aspects of this role to many people is the ability to split their time between office work and being onsite, experiencing the great outdoors. These sites could be all over the UK or even overseas. You will get to meet lots of new people as each site has several professionals working on them. The work can be stressful as you may be responsible for the safety of others while on site.

Qualifications To Become a Geotechnical Engineer

A degree is necessary for entry to this career. Relevant subjects include:

  • engineering geology
  • geology
  • geophysics
  • geotechnology
  • mineral/mining engineering
  • Alternatively, you may have studied civil engineering with a geotechnical bias
  • Apprenticeship

With every qualification, once you have decided o the route you wish to embark on, more opportunities to further your skills and experience will arise. Master’s degrees, specialist courses and events will occur that will allow you to explore the different avenues that this industry has to offer, allowing you to find the right direction for you.