Geological engineering is the application of geological science to solving problems involving humans in relation to the Earth. Distinct from other engineering disciplines such as mechanical engineering, it’s an interdisciplinary field where geology, civil engineering and many other applications intersect.
Geological engineers are tasked with a wide variety of responsibilities. For example, a geological engineer may investigate sites for housing, industrial or commercial zone developments and projects, mines, pipelines, petroleum, forestry and more. Working with civil engineers they may design essential parts of projects. Other times they may be responsible for assessing the environmental impact of a project, and cleaning up the aftermath of pollution, or simply finding minerals, resources and potable water. Additionally, geological engineers may assess risk and hazards for a given locale for issues such as earthquakes, landslides and other natural hazards associated with the earth.
Because of the sheer number of responsibilities for the geological engineer, it’s likely that an individual with a degree in the field will be employable for any number of tasks. Geological engineering salaries are typically around $90,000. By comparison, mechanical engineering salaries are around $80,000, with a similar degree equivalent.
Some additional jobs and responsibilities for the geological engineer may include construction, where it is ensured that the foundations for potential buildings, large and small, are stable and safe and not prone to issues such as earthquakes. Geological engineers are sometimes responsible for environmental protection, ensuring that land development and construction has minimal impact on the local environment. They are also responsible for logistics and the discovery and protection of local, natural resources such as water, minerals and energy.
Given all of these responsibilities, geological engineering is an important discipline that requires much training, knowledge and expertise on the behalf of the engineer. Nonetheless, a geological engineer can expect to find steady and lucrative employment, both for private company and federal government needs.